But he clarified that the bidding process for the LRPA is suspended pending the approval and signing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.
This is in the wake of reports saying that defense officials of Japan and the Philippines are talking about a possible transfer of two to four P-3C "Orion" maritime patrol aircraft to the country's military forces.
Manalo said that the LRPA acquisition is a separate project from the P-3C
The DND's LRPA project is worth PhP5.9 billion and is for two aircraft.
The LRPAs are for the use of the Philippine Air Force.
Earlier, in a supplemental bid bulletin posted at the DND website, prospective bidders were told to submit aircraft designs with systems that allow autonomous operation.
"The aircraft must be equipped with a system that allows autonomous operation in remote bases ensuring electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic power on ground. The system must also be able to start the engines without ground support," it said.
This means that the LRPAs can be deployable in remote airfields lacking modern start-up facilities.
Aside from this, the planes must be equipped with a noise reduction system which is capable of reducing both cabin vibration and noise and eliminate many of the buzzes and rattles which would otherwise be a major source of annoyance and distraction for surveillance and patrol mission crew.
An Airbus Military C295 Maritime patrol / Anti-submarine warfare aircraft demonstrates release of Marte MK2/S anti-ship inert missile.