Gov’t spent P41B for AFP modernization since 2010
MANILA, Philippines—The Aquino administration has spent a total of P41.2 billion for the military’s modernization since 2010, the defense department said on Tuesday.
“We are steadily addressing our Armed Forces’ capability upgrade. Our bids and awards committees at the DND (Department of National Defense) are doing their best to fast-track our acquisitions, while fully adhering to the established rules and procedures set by law,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said in a press statement.
The capability upgrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is one of the centerpiece programs of President Aquino, whose six-year term will expire in 2016.
The new regional security landscape is forcing the government to improve the country’s military’s capability.
China’s increasing belligerence over territorial rows in the West Philippine Sea has heightened the need to modernize the military to allow the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy to guard the national territory, officials said.
The defense department said 16 projects for the Navy were completed in the first three years of the Aquino administration, amounting to P5.3 billion.
Of the figure, P1.34 billion was spent for three Navy helicopters and Navy warships, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF 15) and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16). The warships, former US Coast Guard cutters, are expected to patrol the West Philippine Sea.
The Navy is still expecting the delivery of P6.4 billion worth of strategic vessels, additional naval helicopters and amphibious vehicles.
The Air Force received 18 units of basic trainer aircraft worth P621 million and eight combat utility helicopters amounting to P2.86 billion now used by the Air Force’s 505th Search and Rescue Group.
In the pipeline for the Air Force are P5.6 billion worth of projects, including the acquisition of light-lift aircraft and attack helicopters to be delivered between 2014 and 2016.
Another 21 helicopters will be delivered in the first semester of this year, the defense department said.
The Army received 12 projects worth P2.8 billion, which include 190 units of 1.25-ton trucks or troop carriers worth P494 million, 60 field ambulances worth P300.7 million, and 250 units of 2.5-ton troop carriers worth P837.65 million.
The defense department said armored vehicles, assault rifles and large flatbed trucks used to transport tanks were acquired.
The AFP Medical Center operating rooms were also upgraded and the military acquired a new fixed communication system. Both projects amounted to P445 million.
A total of P130.9 million was spent for the acquisition of materials for the bullet assembly machine of the government arsenal in Bataan. To be delivered this year are equipment for the manufacture of ammunition worth P335 million.
The defense department said the revised AFP modernization program for 2013 to 2017 has an P85.3-billion budget.
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