Press Release
September 11, 2012

DND eyes P75B budget for AFP modernization, but source
of funds to be determined, says Drilon

At least P75 billion is needed to upgrade and modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines in order for the government to build a credible degree of defense at par with other neighboring countries.

But Senator Franklin M. Drilon has posed a challenged to the Department of National Defense (DND) to "think out of the box" as to where they can source out this huge amount of budget other than the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

At the hearing on their P120.32 billion proposed budget in 2013, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the P15 billion annual budget for the Armed Force Modernization Program (AFPMP) will be sourced from the GAA.

However, Drilon said the DND may face a budgetary-related problem since the GAA has limitations like the budget deficit and obviously cannot provide in full the P75 billion requirements for the upgrade of the AFP in order to balance internal security and territorial security concerns.

Under the 2013 budget, only P5 billion is earmarked for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program. The other P10 billion is lodged under the Unprogrammed Fund portion in the budget in which the release is subject to the availability of funds, noted Drilon.

"The release of this P10 billion will depend upon the level of deficit we will be incurring. If there is enough fiscal space, that can be funded, but if not, we have to look for other means to fund this equally important endeavor," explained Drilon.

"I challenge Secretary Gazmin and the rest of AFP officials to look for funds similar to the system in the Bases Conversion Development Authority where the sales of military lands were used to fund the modernization program," said Drilon.

"We are looking at how the excess lands in the military camp can be made more productive to fund the modernization program in order that we can strengthen our defense system," told Drilon.

"It is not only the sale of the military assets that can be the source of funds. Military assets are vast of lands which can be made productive and be the source of modernization program," he added.

Drilon, cited for example, the over 30,000-hectare Hamindan camp in Panay and the 43,000-hectare Fort Magsaysay which need not be sold, but can be made productive.

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