Philippines has allocated 83.9 billion pesos ($1.77 billion) for military modernization projects for the next year to tackle Chinese threat in the South China Sea.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino Monday said his administration had already spent 56.79 billion pesos (US $1.2 billion) of the total scheduled for full disbursement by 2017 on "big-ticket" modernisation programmes.
This was more than the sum spent by the three previous administrations, said Aquino, who took office in 2010 and leaves office next year, as he bemoaned the lack of proper equipment that had long hampered the military.
"Back then, because of lack of equipment, there was a soldier in a sensitive operation carrying a purple backpack from a fast food chain. I just don't think a purple backpack is suited for an operation in the jungle," he told assembled soldiers during a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the armed forces.
The president cited the new equipment purchased in recent years including FA-50 jets, the country's first supersonic fighter aircraft for a decade.
Two of the 12 South Korean-made jets have been delivered and Aquino said the rest would reach the country before the end of 2017.
As ties with China have soured, Aquino has stepped up efforts to strengthen the country's defences, by acquiring new weapons and improving defence ties with allies like the United States and Japan.