The STAR obtained data showing that among the projects that the Department of National Defense (DND) wants to include in the 2015 budget are lead-in fighter trainer jets ammunition, long-range patrol aircraft, multi-purpose attack craft, rocket launchers and base upgrades.
Also in the list is the purchase of munitions for the 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets acquired from South Korea for about P4.52 billion.
The Navy will have three projects: two units of helicopters capable of anti-submarine warfare (P5.402 billion), three units of multi-purpose attack craft (P1.18 billion) and support and logistics for naval bases (P313.62 million).
Four of the projects seek to improve the Army’s capabilities: 4,464 units of night fighting systems (P1.116 billion), 744 units of rocket launchers (P407.41 million), 1,446 units of 2-5W handheld radios (P430.8 million) and 60 units of high frequency 50W radios (P144 million).
The DND also needs P133.4 million to buy 46 units of light utility vehicles for the Armed Forces of the Philippines general headquarters.
Officials expect the upgrade projects to strengthen the military’s territorial defense and internal security capabilities.
Last month, The STAR reported that the DND is seeking a P10-billion supplemental budget to support the modernization of the military.
It would fill in the amount that was not provided to the upgrade program this year.
Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said the DND needs P20 billion for 2014, as programmed. “However, only P10 billion was included in the (General Appropriations Act), hence the request,” he said.
A supplemental budget is on top of the annual national budget passed by Congress.
In 2012, President Aquino signed a law allocating P75 billion for the first five years of the military’s modernization program.
The 2015 budget proposed by Malacañang allocated P20 billion for the Armed Forces Modernization Program.
So far, the administration has completed 37 military upgrade projects worth P9.2 billion.
Fourteen projects worth P6.2 billion are slated for completion before the end of the year, including the delivery of assault rifles for the Army and Marines, additional UH-1H helicopters for the Air Force, close combat optics and explosive ordnance disposal equipment.
Ten projects worth P17.3 billion are scheduled for delivery in 2015, including Army armored vehicles, attack helicopters, combat utility helicopters, light lift and medium lift aircraft and naval helicopters. (The Phillipine Star)