Press Release
December 11, 2023

Bill on Self-Reliant Defense Posture gets Senate nod

The Senate approved on third and final reading a measure aimed at developing the country's defense industry and enhancing its locally produced advanced weaponry and equipment for the armed forces Monday, December 11, 2023.

Voting 20-0-0, the chamber passed Senate Bill No. 2455 (SBN 2455), also known as the "Self-Reliant Defense Posture Revitalization Act", which is designed to revitalize and strengthen the defense posture program of the country while promoting the development of a national defense industry.

Principally authored by Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri, the proposed measure seeks to lessen the Philippines' dependence on foreign and overseas suppliers and help generate employment opportunities in accordance with Section 12, Artcile XII of the Philippine Constitution.

Under the said constitutional provision, the state is mandated to "promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make them competitive."

"We hope to limit Philippine dependence on allies for the provision of defense requirements and develop the defense capability of the country, as well as reduce foreign exchange outflow, generate local employment opportunities and enhance technology transfer to the Philippines," Zubiri said.

According to Zubiri, the proposed measure will mandate companies seeking to sell firearms to the armed forces to establish shops and manufacture the weapons in the Philippines to contribute to the income and employment generation of the country.

Under SBN 2455, the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense Technology Research and Industry Development (DTRID) will be established under the Department of National Defense (DND).

DTRID will be authorized to manage a databank for analysis, conduct research and development, facilitate technology transfer, promote the defense industry, establish public-private partnerships, initiate domestic and foreign collaborations, and provide recommendations to the DND secretary on policies, rules and regulations for the development of the National Defense Industry.

The measure also mandates the formulation of a Self-Reliant Defense Posture (SRDP) Program by the defense department through DTRID. This program is designed to revitalize the defense industry, develop and strengthen allied industries, and address short, medium, and long-term needs for defense materiel.

The bill provides that the SRDP program is designed to prioritize local employment and contribute to foreign currency exchange savings.

The program will also offer incentives to manufacturers to encourage them to establish or relocate production or assembly of materiel in the Philippines while ensuring the protection of local manufacturers and assemblers against unfair competition.

The legislation also seeks to promote technology transfer, drive proactive research and development efforts and the adoption of innovative technologies that would enable the Philippines to export locally-made materiel to other countries.

It is also designed to complement the Philippine Development Plan and align with the National Security Policy and Republic Act (RA) No. 10349 or the "Revised AFP Modernization Program," with emphasis on the modernization of the government arsenal, naval shipyards, military bases and camps.

The program shall align with the objectives of RA No. 11293 or the "Philippine Innovation Act," particularly by fostering partnerships among various stakeholders from the public and private sector, academe, MSMEs, research and development institutions, and communities towards promoting inclusive growth and improving the quality of life through innovation.

Under SBN 2455, the SRDP Program shall include materiel, capital equipment, spare parts and accessories essential to and designed to effectively counter and address chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cyber-attacks or incidents.

The measure also prohibits the sale of materiel produced under SRDP to private entities, both natural and juridical in the Philippines, unless otherwise allowed under RA No. 10591 or the "Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

To support the effective implementation of the measure, an initial funding of P1 billion shall be included in the annual appropriations of the DND.

Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, sponsor of the measure expressed his gratitude to his colleagues for supporting SBN 2455 and to Zubiri for assisting him in defending it in plenary.

Apart from Zubiri, authors of SBN 2455 include Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senators Win Gatchalian, Imee Marcos, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr, Mark Villar and Estrada.

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