Here is the article:
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 2:29 p.m.) President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday signed into law the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act extending the program for another 15 years.
Republic Act No. 10349 gives the AFP modernization program a budget of P75 million (billion) for the first five years.
Aquino said the new law will “boost the AFP’s capability upgrade program as it shifts from internal to external defense capability.”
It institutionalizes the defense system of management, which incorporates a collegial and collaborative planning and decision-making process by senior defense and military leaders.
The new law also allows additional funding from public-private partnerships entered into by the Department of Defense as well as multi-year contracts.
Aside from this, it exempts from the value added tax and customs duties the sale of weapons, equipment, and ammunition to the AFP.
The law exempts from public bidding major defense purchases such as aircraft, vessels, tanks, armored vehicles, communications equipment and high-powered firearms.
AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos hailed the siging of the law, saying it would “significantly contribute” to the military’s development, particularly towards addressing both internal and external security threats.
“With this the AFP will be able to push for the acquisition of equipment … (and) will also provide greater opportunities and enough time for us to finally achieve a minimum credible defense posture
which will help us in better fulfilling our mandate to protect the people and the state,” Burgos said. (with a report from Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com)
It’s been a long wait. The Department of National Defense has been silent about this and we thought that the AFP Modernization Program is once more, a dud. I even considered closing this blog site due to the lack of updates coming from the Defense Department. But cheers to the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, also to its supporters in Facebook, Twitter, Timawa.net, and other defense-related websites because the long wait is over!
As of this moment, the Revised AFP Modernization Law of 2012 has been enacted into law by the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III. This is a joyful moment for the AFP, for the supporters like us, and to all the Filipino People. We can now enter and sign the pending contracts entered by the DND, especially the big-tickets like:
- the Meastrale-class Guided Missile Frigate from Italy
- the re-arming of the Gregorio del Pilar-class Frigates (couple of months ago, an article from a trusted news source stated that a Philippine Navy-officer revealed a plan of arming the two Frigates acquired from the U.S. with Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles, Sonars, Torpedoes and Torpedo Decoys, and lastly Modern Sensors like Air and Surface Search Radars. It is not unusual for these two former Hamilton-class cutter to be equipped with the said armaments and sensors. A sister ship of the current GDP-frigates were already armed with the said armaments and sensors and successfully tested all of it.)
- the Lead-in Fighter Trainer/Surface Attack Aircraft which will be for the Air Force (it hasnt been fully decided yet if what kind of a warplane are we going to purchase, but we should see some good update about this since the AFP-M Bill is now officially a law),
- the Anti-Submarine Helicopters for the Navy (which will be used along with the Maestrale-class Frigates),
- the Light and also the Medium Transport Aircraft for the Air Force as well (it has been circulating that the preferred Medium Transport Aircraft of the DND and the President is the C-27J Spartan from Italy but there are also some news that states that the CN-235 is also being considered),
- the Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (the DND said that they are considering an MPA from our neighboring country Malaysia, but they didnt specified what it is yet. But if you’ll look on Malaysia’s Armed Forces Inventory, the only ideal MPA that the DND would consider is the CN-235MPA which is a variant of the CN-235 that is also being considered for the Medium Transport Role)
- the Close Air Support Aircraft for the Air Force (the DND stated before that they prefer the EMB-314 Super Tucano for this role, though no contract was signed yet due to the pending AFP Modernization Law)
- the Armed Scout/Attack Helicopter (about a month ago, the DND decided to give a go ahead sign to the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec. But due to long delays, while the DND is still deciding, Eurocopter already sold the in-stock AS550 Fennecs back to the Pakistanis)
- the Multi-role Vessels for the Navy (last time I checked, the DND and PN preferred the Makaasar-class MPV, but I am not sure if its still the current preferrence of the Defense Department and the Navy)
- Tanks, Howitzers and Modern APCs for the Army (I am not very updated regarding the modernization of the Army branch of the AFP, since all of this time, they always get the attention from the Media and the Govt since they are the ones facing the Communists and Extremists. But dont get me wrong, I also want them to be modernized and be equipped with modern vehicles and weapons like a Main Battle Tank. But I saw an article couple of months ago that the DND is looking into acquiring MBTs for the Army)
- and Modern Small Firearms for both Army and the Marine Corps (it has been reported recently that the Marine Corps will get new Rifles as part of the modernization program)
I just hope that the government wont get stuck with the promised P75 Billion in the next five years. They should also allot more budget for the 10 remaining years of the modernization law since the bill stated that the modernization program should last for 15 years. Aside from that, they should also increase not only the modernization budget, but also the annual expenses of the AFP and DND. We might have some money to purchase new military equipments, but if we will not allot some more money to maintain them, then all of these are just a waste of time and resources.
Lastly, I would also like to tell the supporters to be vigilant and to stay frosty with these modernization program. We may be under a good administration, so there is no problem regarding the leadership and the higher-ups for now (and I trust them). But I dont trust the people who are working with or under them, since sometimes, they are also the main source of corruption and massive delays.