01 Juni 2015
PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz (photo : RAN)
MANILA, Philippines - Twenty-eight military projects, including base upgrades, various air assets, and ships might be delayed, as Malacañang has still to approve the Armed Forces Modernization Program.
Sources said the modernization program was submitted to Malacañang in February 2013, two months after President Aquino signed the bill into law.
However, the program has yet to be approved, The STAR learned yesterday.
A security official said the funds for the projects would not be released until the modernization program gets Aquino’s approval.
“Without the approval of Malacañang, these projects cannot proceed,” the official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
“It will definitely put a dent on our capabilities and will affect our goal to achieve a credible defense posture.”
Under the revised Armed Forces Modernization Law, the President, upon the recommendation of the secretary of budget and secretary of defense shall submit the upgrade program to Congress within 60 days since the law took effect.
The program will enumerate the military projects to be funded, priorities, schedules and the average cost of each project.
The 28 military projects have a total cost P60.14-billion.
Among the projects facing possible delays are those intended to boost the country’s territorial defense capability, a list obtained by The STAR showed.
The big-ticket items include two Navy frigates worth P18 billion;
-three air surveillance radars worth P2.68 billion;
-six close air support aircraft worth P4.97 billion;
-two units of long range patrol aircraft worth P5.98 billion;
-multi-purpose attack craft project worth P864.32 million;
-night fighting system worth P1.116 billion;
-two C-130 aircraft worth P1.6 billion;
-two naval helicopters worth P5.4 billion;
-and lead-in fighter trainer jets ammunition worth P4.47 billion.
Also in the list are four basing support system and logistics projects with a total budget of P2.15 billion.
The projects seek to improve existing military facilities in strategic areas.
Other items facing possible delays include Army radios, thermal imaging device, field ambulance units, armored personnel carriers, flight simulators, amphibious assault vehicles, combat systems, light utility vehicles and engineering equipment.