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Plenary Interpellation re: BBL Block Grant vs. AFP Modernization

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Rep. Gary C. Alejano, MAGDALO Partylist (Plenary Interpellation re: BBL Block Grant vs. AFP Modernization)

Twenty (20) years after enacting into law RA 7898 of the AFP Modernization Act, our Armed Forces are still in a sorry state especially with the current development in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the continuing problems on internal security and the disastrous effects of typhoons and calamities in the country. Only PhP 51B was released from an envisioned amount of Php 331B for the modernisation of our AFP or a measly 15% achievement.
RA 7898 expired in 2011. Another law, the Revised AFP Modernization Law or Republic Act 10349 was approved by Congress on Dec 2012 to extend the first modernisation to another 15 years to boost the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) thrust to acquire new and modern equipment and develop its capability
The new AFP Modernisation Act (RA 10349) envisions an amount of at least Seventy-five billion pesos (Php 75B) for the first five (5) years or at least Php 15B annually. This amount pales in comparison with the envisioned block grant of the Bangsamoro with Php 26.8B on its first year and around Php 187B in five (5) years.

So, kung gagamitin pala natin pareho sa modernization for the purposes of comparison, after 5 years mas modernized pa ang Bangsamoro Police Force kaysa ating Armed Forces of the Philippines. Nakakalungkot ito dahil kaawa-awa ang estado ng ating AFP pero napakalaki ng expectation ng buong sambayanan sa kanila lalong lalo na ngayon sa gitna ng isyu ng West Philippine Sea. Nakita naman natin kung gaano kabulok ang ating barko sa Ayungin, WPS. All we can do is trust on the commitment of the Americans that they will come to our aid based on the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) that they signed with us.

The New AFP Modernization Program which was submitted to Department of Budget and Management in 2012 still awaits approval from the President up to now. Tatlong taon na po. Funds for the projects would not be released until the modernization program gets the President Aquino’s approval.

On the other hand, nagmamadali tayong lahat na maipasa ang BBL so we can start providing billions of pesos to Bangsamoro that will be led by the MILF. What an irony, Mr. Speaker. It is no wonder that we are seemed contented with the government negotiating from a position of weakness and tremble in fear every time we are threatened by the MILF of war when the issue of watering down or non-passage of BBL come up.



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