I KNOW that this is an old issue since this House Bill has been passed by the Legislation, but let me enlighten you on what really happened on the House Bill No. 6410 or the AFP Modernization Act of 2012 in the Senate.
Many military enthusiasts became so angry to some senators whom they have thought that are blocking the passage of the AFP Modernization Bill of 2012. It made me curious why the senators seem to be stalling the bill before, when they know that we badly need this bill to be passed by the Legislation so that it could be signed by the President/Commander-in-Chief and push through with the modernization.
What I did couple of minutes ago was to read the whole bill, is quite long, but it is very informative. There are two things that the Senate wants to get some clarification:
First, is the part that says “It allocates P75 billion for the first five years of the revised modernization program.”
Let’s start with this part, because this one sparks the anger of my fellow Filipinos who supported the bill. Couple of days ago, it was said on the news that Senator Drilon was stalling the passage of the bill because he was asking the Secretary of National Defense and the whole Department if where are they gonna get the other P10 Billion for the P15 Billion of the AFP Modernization. This started a confusion and anger in the hearts of the Military-enthusiasts in the Philippines. Because they thought that the Senate only wants the AFP to have P5 Billion annually for the first five years, which is definitely not enough to sustain the modernization. But here is the thing, the Senate is not actually and intentionally stalling the Bill. They just need to figure out where to get the P10 Billion of the P15 Billion of the 2013 AFP Modernization Budget. Remember, the budget for 2013 was already passed by the Legislative Branch. So this is the problem, the budget for 2013 was already passed, and it is stated on the budget that only P5 Billion were allotted for the AFP Modernization. Since by the time that the budget was being tackled by the Congress, the HB 6410 was not yet enacted. Now the 6410 is now in the Senate, there is a conflict between the Budget for 2013 and the AFP-M Bill since the Bill requires the Congress to appropriate P15 Billion per year, but they have already allocated funds couple of months ago. So that is why Senator Drilon was asking the DND officials if they could get some other source of funds for the 2013 AFP Modernization Budget because if the DND were not able to get any other source of funds, the government is still required by the Bill to appropriate P15 Billion for 2013, so what will happen is the other vital service like Education, Infrastructure, and Social Services will suffer. So the Senate is not stalling, they are just making sure that the funds for our Child’s education will not be sacrificed, that our Roads and Bridges will always be fixed, and there will be relief goods when a Typhoon struck us again.
Second, the part of the bill that says “a reasonable amount of the national government’s share in the Malampaya oil and gas exploration and such other similar or related explorations for energy.”
Well this is a flaw on the bill that was brought up by Senator Lacson. I can say that he has a lawyer’s eye. This seems to be a small issue to some people and should not be a reason to slightly stall the bill (but the bill was already passed). But in reality, this part of the bill has an Advantage and a Disadvantage as well. Let’s go with the Disadvantages first. One of the downfall of this part of the bill is it’s not putting a ceiling on the government to get funds from the Malampaya Gas Project. That means, if the government and the military will be infested by corrupt officials (if you will elect Binay as President instead of Roxas) again, then the Malampaya Funds will be in great danger. But lets go to the Advantage, in case of an armed conflict, we could get a “reasonable” amount from the Malampaya Funds to fund our Military to attain its maximum efficiency in case if a “war” broke out. That is why Senator Lacson is asking questions to protect the Malampaya funds in the future.
My point here is, before we criticize some Government Officials or anyone, lets research about the matter thoroughly first. Accusing someone by doing something he/she did not do. I know, I know, we many politicians for their wrongdoings. But the bashing them is not a solution. You know what the solution for that? A piece of lengthy paper, a pen, and the ability to shade the circles on that lengthy paper. You know what I mean right? If you want those officials out of the government, simple, do not vote them! Or ask other people to vote wisely. You hold the solution to our government’s problem. But for now, since the officials are already in their seats, let’s just make the most of it for the mean time until the next elections.
“The military is not the Armed Forces of the Government, it is YOUR Armed Forces. Support them, Trust them, and Love them.” -the Author