PH shelves P9.4B defense modernization projects for now due to pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine defense department is putting off P9.4 billion worth of military modernization projects in the meantime as the national government reallocated its funds to prioritize the coronavirus pandemic.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said a total of P19.3 billion of funds was cut from his agency.
“Out of P19.3 billion returned to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), P9.4 billion was supposed to be for modernization, while P9.7 billion was for capital outlay, and P155 million was for MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses),” he told the pre-SONA virtual forum on Wednesday.
“Itong projects ng modernization na natanggalan ng pera ay naiurong natin sa mga susunod na taon kasi di naman sila masyadong kritikal sa ating misyon,” he said.
Inquirer.net learned that some of these P9.4 military modernization funds for 2020 include the C4ISTAR project for the Philippine Army worth P3.5 billion; light tanks for the Philippine Army worth P1.4 billion; and Army combat engineering equipment worth P2.2 billion.
It also includes funding for the landing docks for the Philippine Navy and medium-lift aircraft for the Philippine Air Force.
Just recently, the Philippine Navy said it was delaying the scheduled decommissioning of some of its legacy ships as the acquisition of new vessels would be delayed because of budget constraints due to the global health crisis.
In the same forum, Lorenzana said that combat support aircraft are set for delivery to the Philippine Air Force this year.
“We continue to boost our defense capability through the AFP modernization program,” he said.
The AFP has also improved its identification, detection, and interdiction efforts through its newly-installed air defense surveillance radars, conduct of wider air and maritime patrols, and establishment of new detachments in strategic locations, Lorenzana said.
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