Philippine senators on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill that seeks to revitalize the country’s defense program and encourage businesses to invest in local defense equipment.

Senate Bill 2455 will task the Department of National Defense to craft a self-reliant defense posture program that will encourage manufacturers to produce defense and weapon systems in the Philippines and promote their exports to other countries.

Under the measure the Defense department will be allotted P1 billion as seed money to finance the program.

“It is imperative to revitalize the country’s self-reliance defense posture program and to fully harness the potential of the defense industry at a time when security threats are imminent and continue to evolve,” according to a copy of the bill. — John Victor D. Ordonez