Press Release
August 7, 2023

Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation joint with the Committees on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation, Ways and Means and Finance
07 August 2023; 10am; Tolentino Room



  •  S. Nos. 980, 1390, 1747 and 1946 - National Defense Act (By: Sens. Dela Rosa, Revilla, Zubiri and Villanueva)

  •  S. Nos. 315, 505, 682 and 2046 - Self-Reliance Defense Posture Revitalization (By: Sens. Zubiri, Villanueva, Legarda, Revilla, Estrada and Marcos)

Good morning Mr. Chair, honorable members of this Committee and to our resource persons.

First, let me manifest my appreciation to our hardworking Chairman, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, for conducting this hearing to discuss proposed measures on the amendment of the National Defense Act, as well as the measures on Self-Reliance Defense Posture Revitalization.

Mr. Chair, as a former soldier, I have advocated and continue to push for legislative measures that will protect our country's sovereignty against both internal and external security threats. Most recently, our foreign policies and defense capabilities are constantly being challenged by the Chinese, particularly [in] the West Philippine Sea.

While we aim to modernize and strengthen our Armed Forces through procurement of defense equipment and material, improvements should not only be limited to the development of defense capabilities. Modernization should likewise include ensuring that the military structure is adaptable to the changing times. This was likewise the call of President Bongbong Marcos during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he recognized the need to amend the decades-old National Defense Act of 1935.

We acknowledge and welcome the call of the President to prioritize this legislative measure. Indeed, we must not surrender even a single inch of our territory. While we rally behind him and his wisdom in peacefully resolving our territorial dispute, we also recognize and support his moves to accelerate the modernization of our troops.

Hindi lamang ang mga kagamitan ang dapat bigyang pansin sa usapin ng modernization. Dapat din nating paglaanan ng panahon ang pagpapahusay at pagsasanay ng organisasyon na kinabibilangan ng ating kasundaluhan.

As we move [towards] modernizing our Armed Forces, we must likewise prepare for the sustainability of these procured assets. During the budget hearing last year, one of the issues raised was the lack of spare parts and insufficient budget to sustain and procure, which, among others, result in the non-operability of air assets. Ngayon, higit kailanman, Mr. Chair, ang panahon para palakasin ang kakayahan ng ating bansa upang ipagtanggol ang ating soberanya.

Our soldiers are already working very hard on the ground but the protection of our sovereignty is not only their responsibility, it is the responsibility of all of us. Through legislation, let us provide our troops with all the necessary tools they need to equip them in battle. Higit sa lahat, iparamdam natin sa kanila na hindi sila nag-iisa.

I am looking forward to a productive and fruitful discussion with all the resource persons today.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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