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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

DND: Congress to amend AFP laws

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Congress vowed to amend the modernization and procurement laws of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, along with the Self-Reliant Defense Posture (SRDP) program, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. said Friday.

“Congress has promised us two things —the amendment of the modernization law and the procurement law of the Armed Forces,” Teodoro said in a press statement.

He said the SRDP will also be enhanced by investing or partnering with local manufacturers of defense equipment.

“That means to say, we will be able to invest long-term as equity partners or as purchasers for locally manufactured defense goods and equipment,” he added.

The DND chief said the proposed amendments are not only envisioned to fortify the country’s defense capabilities but also to invigorate economic growth and development.

Meanwhile, an archipelagic country like the Philippines needs to invest in upgrading and beefing up its naval and air defense assets to protect its vast territory, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said.

Brawner, in an interview with reporters, said the upgrading of the Air Force and the Navy’s external defense capabilities includes the acquisition of more advanced jet fighters and other air assets needed to patrol along with naval vessels.

“We really need to invest in improving our maritime and air power as the Philippines is an archipelagic nation, unlike some countries (in Southeast Asia) that are land-locked,” he added.

The AFP Modernization Program has shifted to provide the military with the capabilities needed to protect the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or 200 nautical miles from its coast.

This shift is now ongoing under Horizon 3 of the program.

Presidential Decree No. 415 in 1974 created the SRDP that requires the immediate prosecution of national defense projects for the acquisition of military material. The program aims to generate labor, spur industrial and commercial activities, and conserve foreign exchange resources.

On Thursday, the DND and AFP signed an agreement with the Cebu provincial government on land swapping.

The memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed by AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. It was witnessed by DND Assistant Secretary for Real Estate and Installations Emmanuel Anthony Ramos and Cebu Vice Governor Hilario Davide III.

“This agreement is a synergistic agreement where everybody wins, because not only will Cebu regain what is rightfully hers, but the Armed Forces will also not lose because of the replication commitment of the province of Cebu,” Teodoro said.

Under the MOA, the province will facilitate the relocation of the displaced units of the Visayas Command (Viscom) into its new camp.

The provincial government will also fund the construction of exact replicas of military structures and facilities of Viscom to ensure unhampered operations.

“Because of our vulnerability as a country, we need to strengthen our internal bonds to make ourselves less vulnerable and more resilient so that we can face the world at an arm’s length basis, and preserve the interests of the Republic of the Philippines first, before the interests of others,” Teodoro said.

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