MANILA, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine military on Monday commissioned six upgraded Armed Personnel Carriers which it said will boost its capability in fighting threat groups, particularly the leftist New People's Army.
"The launching marks a step towards the military's efforts to upgrade its fleet of APCs. The new armored vehicles will play a key role in supporting the nation's Security Operations," said the military public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner.
The upgraded APCs, with a combat weight of 10.7 tons each and a 13-soldier seating capacity, have lesser maintenance cost and have extended life cycle that will enhance the military's operational performance.
Brawner said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved the acquisition in 2003 after market analysis showed that it was cheaper to procure a complete unit rather than upgrade the current 20 vehicles in the country.
Bangit said the six APCs will be deployed and tested in Masbate, which Philippine Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said may be the next flashpoint of violence after Maguindanao. More troops have been infused to Masbate due to almost daily killings.
Bangit said these APCs will eventually see action against communist insurgents which President Arroyo wanted defeated on or before her term ends in June this year.
When asked if the APCs will hasten the defeat of the NPAs, Bangit said: "Anything that is an added capability to the army or the armed forces will be a big boost to our desire to achieve our mission by 2010."