Federalism shift won’t hurt AFP upgrade, PMA cadets told
FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City — A shift to federalism would not affect the pace of the military’s modernization, despite fears raised by cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) during consultations on Monday conducted by the consultative committee (Con-Com) formed to help amend the 1987 Constitution.
“With the proposed sharing, giving regions better hold of finances, it might affect allocations for the modernization of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines],” said Cadet First Class Kenny Dacuba.
But Con-Com member Ferdinand Bocobo, a retired general and lawyer, assured the cadets that the division of funds would not disrupt allocations for the modernization program.
The dispute between the country and China over the West Philippine Sea requires the government to build a strong and modern AFP and Coast Guard to protect the country’s exclusive economic zone prescribed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, said Bocobo, a member of PMA Class of 1974.
He said the Con-Com had met with Department of National Defense officials to “make sure defense and security will be given enough share to divide.”
“We will make sure that we will have enough budget so that our Armed Forces will be able to perform as mandated by the Constitution,” he said, because defense and security remain the exclusive power of the proposed federal government.
“As future military leaders, we need to be aware of facts and policies that affect the country and our mandate,” said Cadet First Class Jonathan Mendoza of Cavite City.
The cadets also said they appreciated the inclusion of a provision in the proposed charter that bans political dynasty. The draft bans anyone from seeking office if he or she is related to a sitting elected official, either directly or by the second degree of consanguinity. —Karlston Lapniten