The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program — made possible this year via a P25-billion allocation in the national budget — will improve Filipino soldiers’ fightitng capabilities in all aspects, House Appropriations Committee Chair Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles said.
“We’re talking about land, air, and sea upgrades for the AFP. This modernization program will erase doubts regarding the Duterte administration’s commitment to our brave men and women in uniform and protecting the country as a whole,” Nograles said.
Nograles said the details of the particular P25-billion tranche under the multi-year upgrade plan for the AFP have already been given final approval by the Department of National Defense (DND).
“While our military personnel will no doubt enjoy their well-deserved increase in base pay this year, their morale will get another huge boost thanks to the new combat vehicles they will be getting,” noted the Davao lawmaker.
Forthcoming purchases under the modernization plan include 24 attack helicopters worth P13.8 billion; one fixed wing jet, P2 billion; and one turboprop patrol aircraft, P1.8 billion.
“If the acquisition of the attack helicopters will be subject to a multi-year acquisition, then the list would also include 44 units of light attack tanks. These will be worth P9.4 billion,” the Appropriations panel chairman bared.
As for sea units, Nograles said the program also provides for an P8-billion payment through multi-year obligation for the two frigates, an amphibious assault vehicle and surveillance radar.
“As you can see, we have our troops covered in all areas. We won’t stop there either as the upgrades to our mechanized units will continue in the coming years. Let this send a message to the enemies of the state, especially terrorist groups, that we are fully equipped and capable of defeating you,” he said.
Last year, government troops crushed the ISIS-inspired Maute Group extremists who tried to take over Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.
The Nograles panel was instrumental in the earmarking funds intended for additional benefits of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) under the P3.767-trillion national budget for 2018.
Foremost of these is the increase in the months base pay of some 381,381 of soldiers and police, which President Rodrigo Duterte first promised in August 2016.
An additional P64.24 billion had to be allocated for the salary hike, which effectively doubled the salaries of a Police Officer (PO) 1 in the Philippine National Police (PNP) or a Private in the AFP, as well as equivalent ranks in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Public Safety College, Philippine Coast Guard, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority. (HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES)