AFP to get P20B from sale of Jusmag propertyBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is expected to receive a total of more than P20 billion for its modernization program from the sale of one of its properties in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, a Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) official said Saturday.
BCDA Executive Vice President Aileen Zosa said the disposition of the 34.5-hectare Joint US Military Assistance Group (Jusmag) area in Fort Bonifacio to realty developers would help fund the military’s modernization drive.
“The Jusmag area will generate for the Armed Forces of the Philippines more than P20 billion over the years,” Zosa said.
The P20 billion is expected to fund the government’s planned purchase of warships, jet fighters and other equipment to modernize the military in the coming years.
It intends to buy from the Italian Navy next year two Maestrale-class frigates armed with surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles and capable of antisubmarine warfare. The ships will cost P11.7 billion.
The Department of National Defense also plans to acquire 10 T-50 multipurpose supersonic jet fighters from South Korea to secure the nation’s airspace.
This year, the military will also get two or four of 10 attack Eurocopters worth P3.2 billion from France; 21 UH1 helicopters worth P1.2 billion, two multipurpose attack craft (MPACs) and four Sokol helicopters.
Zosa announced the expected windfall from the Jusmag property sale during BCDA’s turnover of 64 condominium units in Fort Bonifacio to the AFP for the use of soldiers and their families.
“The BCDA does not only help the armed forces expedite the implementation of its modernization and capability upgrade program, but also recognizes the sacrifices made by our soldiers through significant projects that help military dependents live a better quality of life,” said AFP chief of staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa.
“In return for the continuous assistance and benefits from the BCDA, the AFP assures that we will be more enthused to perform our mandate of protecting the people and the state more efficiently and effectively,” he added.
As of December last year, the BCDA has already remitted P15.1 billion to the AFP from the sale of its other real estate properties.
The House of Representatives has also approved a bill extending the AFP modernization law and providing it with a P75-billion budget over the years.
Undersecretary Fernando Manalo, who attended the turnover ceremony of the condominium units in behalf of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, said these would help boost the morale of soldiers.
The AFP formally received the four residential condominium buildings. Each condominium unit has a total area of 100-square meters with three bedrooms. The five-storey buildings with 16 condo units each can house a total of 64 families of active Army soldiers.
This is part of the BCDA’s Jusmag replication program, a P700-million project which aims to provide the AFP with 12 residential condominium buildings.
Of the 10 buildings being constructed at Fort Bonifacio, nine buildings are reserved for the Philippine Army and one building for the Philippine Navy. The two other buildings are located within the retention area of the Philippine Air Force in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.