MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang announced on Sunday that President Aquino has ordered the release of P10 billion for the military’s modernization program.
But deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte made it clear the release of the budget for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had nothing to do with the government troops’ ongoing skirmish with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“This (release of the P10 billion) was already in the works. It just so happened that we are releasing this money just now,” Ms. Valte told state radio dzRB, in reply to the question whether the release of the money was in relation to last week’s bloody clash between government and MILF troops in Al Barka town in Basilan that left 19 soldiers dead.
Valte said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has been preparing the special allotment release orders for the P10 billion, which would be sourced from appropriations of the 2010 and 2011 national budget at P5 billion each.
“From the P5 billion fund from 2010, the AFP plans to equip the Philippine Army with armored personnel carriers, radios to really upgrade the equipment. The Philippine Navy intends to procure a sea-lift vessel, while the Philippine Air Force targets to acquire one special mission aircraft and two lift aircraft amounting to P1.6 billion,” Valte said.
Valte added that the military would use the remaining P5 billion in the 2011 appropriations for civil military operations, health services and disaster response activities.
This included 32 five-ton dump trucks and 55 special-purpose vehicles for the Army; two search-and-rescue helicopters; and 30 special-purpose vehicles and 15 amphibian vehicles for the Navy.
“Also under the 2011 budget, the AFP will also purchase – if necessary – weapons and communications equipment, handheld radios, AV configuration radios, and base radios, as well as audio-video equipment, portable radio receivers, sniper rifle systems and standard weapons systems,” Valte said.