MANILA - More than three-quarters of Philippine military aircraft are not fit to fly - hampering the country's ability to protect its airspace and territorial waters, the air force said on Sept. 10.
Air force spokesman Miguel Ernesto Okol said the military fleet was in dire straits, backing up a 2010 government audit that found only 91 of the 393 aircraft were "full mission capable".
The Philippine Air Force is composed of several-decades-old hand-me-downs from Uncle Sam (think Korean War-era hunks of junk). In general, the Philippine military is only capable of counter-insurgency (think torturing peasants).
The country has historically just relied on its neo-colonial relationship with the United States for defense, and that has been sufficient. However, now that tensions in the South China Sea have the government talking diplomacy with China, the hawks feel compelled to point out the historically obvious: the Philippines can't fight a war against an external enemy by themselves.
Duh. That's why Manila is talking peace, and that's exactly why Washington DC is talking war. If the Philippines (and other ASEAN nations) really do negotiate treaties with China, there would be less need for half-a-century-old hand-me-downs, and less need for a declining empire as a bodyguard.