Duterte to Army: Lease lands, move to Clark
President Duterte on Thursday urged the military to lease out its remaining lands in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, to raise more funds for its modernization program.
Mr. Duterte said leasing out military land in Fort Bonifacio—the location of the headquarters of the Philippine Army and the Philippine Marines, as well as Bonifacio Naval Station—would raise “trillions” of pesos for the Armed Forces.
“This is not for sale like the others. No. No. Just lease (them out), 50 years, and you have the income,” the President said in a speech in Fort Bonifacio.
“So, aside from the regular annual budgetary needs that you have, you’d have your own wish list (like) what’s the ideal helicopters, for example. You know that’s very important in the insertion of troops right now in Mindanao,” he said.
“These are the things that you have to improve on. And that is my deal. I said, ‘Nobody is taking your land, it’s yours. Go into a joint venture or lease it on a long-term (basis). The money that is generated would be yours.’”
The President made the statement at the installation of the Army’s new commanding general, Maj. Gen. Rolando Bautista, who took over from the retired Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda.
Among those present were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año.
Mr. Duterte said he would appoint Miranda to the board of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority in November so the military would have a representative in the agency.
The President conceded that Fort Bonifacio might have a “sentimental” value for the military but he added that it must learn to “move on.”
“You can help the country by trying to look for money for your own (use). And this (land deal) could involve trillions,” he said.
Mr. Duterte said the military could transfer its facilities in Fort Bonifacio to Clark Field in Pampanga or to any other military base “that’s not operating.”
“You can convert it to an ordinary camp, then with an airstrip. Just look for one. I’ll give you this place, all of this with one sole condition—everything that you earn will go directly to you,” he said.
“So that’s our deal. Accept it during my time. You have no other time. I will give it to you and you can fund the modernization. Buy all the equipment you need…to meet the challenges way, way ahead,” he added.
The government privatized 240 hectares of military land in Fort Bonifacio in the early 1990s to support the Armed Forces’ modernization program.