DND plans to spend P58B in 2021 to modernize PH armed forces
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine defense department is aiming to spend P58 billion to carry out a program to modernize the military in 2021.
The proposed P58,371,324,000 defense spending will come from various sources, said Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who was sponsoring the Department of National Defense (DND) budget as chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense.
At budget deliberations in the Senate on Friday (Nov. 20), Lacson said at least P8 billion in funds to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which had been realigned to COVID-19 response, has been returned to the AFP by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The amount would be on top of the P25 billion proposed funding for the program to modernize the military, Lacson said.
Another P5 billion would be added under unprogrammed funds, Lacson said. He added that P2 billion in the general appropriations bill would be used as downpayment for two heavy-lift transport aircraft.
At least P18.37 billion for defense would come from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) as the AFP’s share in the sale of military base lands, which included a large portion of the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio which is now Bonifacio Global City.
Lacson said the AFP continued to play “catch up” in building up its capability.
The Senate raised the DND’s proposed 2021 budget to P215 billion from P208.7 billion in the original DBM proposal.
The increased funding proposal included P2 billion for the Army to set into operation the 11th Infantry Division and these other spending plans:
- P721 million for the Philippine Navy to operate and maintain Rizal class frigates and construction of forward operating and maintenance bases for multi-purpose attack craft
- P800 million for the Philippine Air Force for firepower procurement
- P425 million for veterans’ medicines
- P116 million for the Office of the Secretary
- P190 million to support the counterinsurgency National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict
- P111 million for maritime security
- P100 million for cybersecurity
The Philippine military, which faces key tasks like disaster response, fighting insurgency and securing borders, remains to be one of the most ill-equipped in the region.
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