A previous 15-year upgrade plan failed to take off in the mid-1990s, leaving the Philippines with outdated hardware, including warships from World War Two and helicopters used by the United States in the Vietnam War.
"We have the go signal now to buy brand-new equipment, like fighters, drones, light tanks, radar, an additional frigate and a submarine to boost our defence capability," said a defence official, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to media.
A senior general said Duterte had approved 33 modernisation projects, with a focus on domestic security and protecting the vast maritime borders of the archipelago nation.
"We're putting a premium on unmanned aerial vehicles, long-range patrol aircraft, offshore patrol ships and an electric-diesel submarine," he told Reuters.
The military is bent on preventing another Islamic State-inspired insurgency after rebels seized Marawi, the country's only Islamic city, for five months last year.
Besides the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have rival claims on the area, through which $3 trillion worth of sea-borne goods pass every year.
"We want to get submarines as soon as possible," he said.
Duterte had set aside $1 billion for new helicopters and light tanks, but no purchases have been made yet.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)