The Philippine Navy will be upgraded through the induction of newer and faster boats to guard the country’s maritime resources and oil exploration areas in disputed territories, President Benigno Aquino has said.

Aquino said a contract for three small, fast coastal patrol boats will be awarded this week for the under-equipped navy.

The new boats will be used to patrol the country’s maritime borders with Indonesia and Malaysia and will help counter poachers, pirates, smugglers and militants.

The Philippine Government is planning to raise funds to replace its Vietnam-era warships, aircraft and other combat support equipment by leasing military property to private investors.

The navy is currently using Vietnam-era US-made transport and gunboats and second-hand UK frigates, according to Reuters.