Mixed reviews for P40-B plan to modernize AFPBy Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Lawmakers are divided on a Palace proposal to boost military spending in the face of persistent intrusions by China in the country’s territorial water.
Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon said that a plan by the Department of Budget and Management to allocate P40 billion over the next years to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been a long time coming.
Biazon said that the 2005 AFP modernization program called for a total budget of P60 billion but only P27 billion has been allotted so far.
“This amount is not enough,” said Biazon, a former AFP chief of staff. “I am drafting a new AFP modernization bill and it will indicate where the funds will come from.”
Congress has allocated P5 billion annually for the AFP modernization from 2005 to 2010. President Aquino more than doubled the amount to P11 billion in this year’s budget with the bulk coming from the government’s share in the Malampaya gas production.
But Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said that the budget department’s proposal was too much.
“Why spend billions on ships and planes, when we can’t even have enough teachers, books, and school chairs? As of 2011, the government admitted that it lacks around 100,000 teachers, 150,000 classrooms, 13.5 million chairs, and 95.5 million textbooks,” Casiño said.
He said that the government should first conduct an audit of where the modernization funds went considering the allegations of corruption that had hounded the top military brass in the last decade.
“They are just using the South China Sea dispute as an excuse for AFP fattening and corruption while the country’s poor are wanting and in dire need of resources. Our conflict with China and other claimant countries in the Spratlys can be resolved peacefully,” Casiño said.
Tags: Aquino Administration , Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization , Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño , Military , Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon , P40-billion AFP modernization fund , Spratlys , Territorial dispute