27 Januari 2011
ACV-300 of the PAF (photo : Sandy)
MANILA, Philippines - The military needs at least P42.13 billion in the next five years to upgrade its capability and implement security programs.
Military data showed P11.66 billion of the program has been allotted to the Army; P14.36 billion for the Air Force and P14.49 billion has been earmarked for the Navy.
The remaining P1.62 billion has been allocated to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters and various support units.
Senior military officials presented the data before members of the House of Representatives defense committee in a hearing held at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.
“The P42 billion (for 2012 to 2016) is a practical modest budget... it can still be adjusted,” Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino said during the committee hearing.
AFP vice chief Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu said the program would involve allotting equipment to 12 Army battalions.
He said this would also entail the creation of three mechanized battalions, which will be equipped with Army fighting vehicles.
Mapagu said they are still determining which battalions would be provided with new equipment.
Mapagu, however, said this might include troops deployed in some areas in Mindanao.
The P42-billion program includes the purchase of 110 units of infantry fighting vehicles, 4,464 units of night fighting system, 8,103 units of assault rifles, 8,103 units of force protection equipment, grenade launchers, trucks, and radios for the Army.
For the Air Force, the items in the shopping list include four units of combat helicopters, four units of surface attack aircraft and lead-in fighter trainers, six units of close air support aircraft, a long-range patrol aircraft and an air surveillance radar.
For the Navy, the program seeks to acquire two offshore patrol vessels, a strategic sealift vessel, a command and control communication system, two units of multi-purpose helicopters, a bases support system, a Coast Guard watch system and an anti-bunker and tank system.
The program also aims to fund, among others, security, mobility, information and weapons systems, communication networks, rehabilitation of military structures and dental and medical equipment.
Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the House defense committee, said they would have to study the AFP medium-term capability program.
“The first thing that we will be doing is (to) identify what equipment should be acquired. Only then can we determine how much is needed to support the acquisition,” Biazon said.
“The next phase is to determine how to provide the funds and define the sources of funding,” he added.
Biazon, however, said the AFP should not include in its proposal the equipment used by civilian agencies to implement developmental projects.
“These items should not be mixed with the modernization (program) because whatever they will acquire should be determined by the requirement of providing national security and defense for the country, not agriculture,” he said.
The AFP is currently implementing Bayanihan, an internal security plan that focuses on development programs designed to attack the roots of rebellion.