Press Release
March 17, 2010

Villar vows to 'de-politicize' AFP

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday vowed to institute reforms that would professionalize the ranks of the Armed Forces and insulate the appointment process of its officers from politics and patronage.

"I want to put an end to the culture of patronage pervading our system," Villar said.

"I look forward to the day when there will be no need for our soldiers to air their grievances in a manner that would cost them their freedom or lives."

The senator said he will institutionalize a merit-based system in the selection process and appointment of officers.

Villar cited that discontent within the military organization creates ripples of uncertainty within society that in turn has a negative impact on public confidence in democratic institutions.

"We cannot generate long-term growth because businessmen and investors will always be wary about things like military adventurism. These are matters that should have been addressed a long time ago but were not. If given the mandate, such things will be immediately addressed under my watch," Villar said.

Earlier, Villar lamented the inadequate P5-billion AFP budget for modernization and vowed to bankroll a weapons upgrade from dividends of an anti-corruption drive.

Villar said the Philippines loses P1.92 billion to corruption a year, but he believes "if we can get 10 percent from an anti-corruption drive the amount will be enough to fund the modernization program of the military." "If we can curb this purported corruption in the military by at least 50 percent, we can generate savings that could be channeled to the purchase of the basic needs of the soldiers in the field like combat boots, combat rations and ammunition," he said.

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