P41.2-B military upgrade completed in Noy's 3 years
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2014 - 5:47pm

MANILA, Philippines - A total of P41.2 billion worth of military upgrade projects have been completed and awarded during the first three years of the Aquino administration, data from the Department of National Defense (DND) showed.

The amount represents 36 projects that were spread out to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters, the Government Arsenal and the three major services namely the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.

Twelve of the projects went to the Army while four others benefited the Air Force. The Navy got 16 projects including the frigates BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz.

Two projects each went to the Armed Forces General Headquarters and the Government Arsenal.

“We are steadily addressing our Armed Forces’ capability upgrade. Our Bids and Awards Committees at the DND (Department of National Defense) are doing their best to fast-track our acquisitions while fully adhering to the established rules and procedures set by law,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said in a statement.

The completed Army projects totaled P2.8-billion, including the acquisition of 190 units of 1 ¼ ton truck troop carriers worth P494 million, 60 units of field ambulance units worth P3007 million, and 250 units of 2 ½ ton troop carriers worth P837.65 million.

Another P5.5 billion worth of projects have been awarded and are awaiting delivery within this year and 2015 including armored vehicles, assault rifles and prime movers or trucks used to transport armed vehicles.

Four Air Force projects worth P3.7 billion have been completed including the purchase of 18 units of basic trainer aircraft worth P621.67 million and eight combat utility helicopters worth P2.86 billion that are now under the 505th Search and Rescue Group.

Air Force projects that are in the pipeline are the acquisition of light-lift aircraft and attack helicopters due for delivery within the next two years and 21 units of UH-1 helicopters, which may arrive in the country within the first half.

A total of 16 Navy projects worth P5.3 billion have been completed including the acquisition of warships BRP Alcaraz and BRP del Pilar and three naval helicopters worth P1.34-billion.

The Navy is expecting the delivery of P6.4 billion worth of equipment including the strategic sealift vessels, additional naval helicopters and amphibious vehicles.

Two Armed Forces General Headquarters projects worth P445 million were completed during the first half of the Aquino presidency namely the upgrade of the AFP Medical Center operating rooms and the acquisition of a fixed communication system.

The Government Arsenal projects that have been completed in the last three years were the acquisition of raw and input materials for its bullet assembly machine. The agency is awaiting the delivery of the equipment for the manufacture of ammunition.

“The AFP modernization projects for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the upgrades for the Government Arsenal, have been expedited during the first half of the Aquino administration,” said Arsenio Andolong, acting public affairs chief of the Defense department.

In 1995, Congress passed the Armed Forces Modernization Act, which provided the military the chance to modernize in 15 years with a total budget of P331 billion.

The program was hampered by the lack of funds and the changing priorities of the national leadership.

As a result, the Philippine military has become one of the most poorly-equipped in the region.

In 2012, President Aquino signed a new modernization law that seeks to allot more resources to the military’s upgrade efforts. More than P85-billion is needed to fund the program in the next four years.

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