Judge says pork barrel should be used to boost defense
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2013 - 6:19pm

MANILA, Philippines - Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday  said government could use the "pork barrel" for next year to buy warships which could help deter encroachment by China in Philippine-claimed territories in the West Philippine Sea.

Talking to reporters after speaking on the rule of the law in the West Philippine Sea dispute before a gathering of the Philippine Bar Association in Makati, Carpio said the Philippines has enough funds to buy weapons for self defense but lacks the political will to do so.

"We have to admit that as a nation we have neglected to maintain a credible defense force particularly our naval assets despite us being an archipelagic country with an extensive coastline and a vast exclusive economic zone," he said.

"We are paying dearly for this neglect. We lost Mischief reef in 1995, scarboroug shoal in 2012 and more likely the Ayungin Shoal in the near future.
To maintain a sovereign and independent nation, to maintain our territorial integrity, to avoid further humiliation, to maintain our self respect as a nation, we must build and maintain a credible defense force," Carpio added.

"There is no simply alternative to this. No nation can remain independent and sovereign for long without a credible defense force. We have the money but we don't have the political will," he said.

Carpio said the government bought the BRP for P650 million, had it refurbished and equipped with harpoon ship to ship missiles.

"If we use the proposed P27-billion pork barrel fund for 2014 to acquire warships, the Philippines can buy 41 BRP Ramon Alcaraz types of warships. Fortyone harpoon firing ships are more than enough to keep intruders out of our maritime zones in the West Philippine sea that is if we have the political will," he said.

Carpio said that in the event the pork barrel is scrapped, government still has enough funds from its revenue from the Malampaya gas fields off Palawan to cover its defense expenses.

"If the pork barrel is abolished, then we can use just seven months of our income in Malampaya worth P26 billion based on the P46 billion income in 2011 so that we can acquire 41 BRP Ramon Alcarazes," he said.


 

AYUNGIN SHOAL CARPIO FORTYONE MALAMPAYA PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION RAMON ALCARAZ RAMON ALCARAZES SUPREME COURT SENIOR ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ANTONIO CARPIO WEST PHILIPPINE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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