A comprehensive national defense and security program requires the protection of the country’s territory in all fronts---land, air, sea, and even undersea.
While we have a modest or respectable land and air defense capabilities, our maritime defense remains a challenge.
This is on account of the vast body of water separating more than seven thousand islands in our archipelago.
In fact, we have the longest coastline in the world, and this is a daunting challenge to our defense and military officials.
The need for a modern defensive naval assets and weaponry simply cannot be ignored.
In the light of international interest in the undersea areas of the country, there is a need to consider submarines as a deterrent or defensive military asset.
We have one of the oldest navies in Southeast Asia. In fact, the Philippine Navy used to be the most powerful and fierce some and the region.
In order to regain this lost glory, the PN must modernize its fleet to include new vessels, weapon systems, and communication technology.
The acquisition of submarine could dramatically boost the PN’s stature in regional military rankings.
While pushing for the completion of the country's first two missile-capable frigates, PN flag officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad said the country also needs to acquire submarines as they are the "future of naval warfare".
When asked by Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao on what other equipment the Navy needs to be fully modernized, during the Senate hearing on the Frigate Acquisition Project earlier this week, Empedrad said, "Sir, we have a lot of concerns in the Navy, your honor. But for me, the future of naval warfare is submarine warfare. And I believe that if we want to get the respect of other foreign countries or navies, we should acquire submarines."
This, he said, is due to their stealthy nature, which makes them very difficult to detect.
Submarines are naval vessels that can operate in deep or shallow waters and are capable of carrying a variety of weapons that can be used to attack land, sea and air targets.
"Sabi nga nila, mahirap kalabanin iyong kalaban na hindi nakikita (As they say, it is difficult to contain an invisible enemy). So if we have submarines, I'm sure other powerful navies would respect the Philippine Navy - if we get the submarine, your honor," Empedrad said.
The Armed Forces is expected to acquire its own diesel-electric class submarines during the 2nd Horizon of the AFP Modernization Program, which is expected to begin this year and end in 2022.