Cites AFP's, PNP's gains from good governance in SONA
MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III said the military posted P1.2 billion savings from correct and transparent procurement of equipment for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday afternoon, Aquino cited his administration’s goal in modernizing the military and police forces.
“The bonus here is that we were able to generate savings of up to P1.2 billion, which we could still use to purchase more equipment,” he said.
He said this was unlike what happened when the military purchased some 500 Kevlar helmets for the Philippine Marines during the administration of former President Gloria Arroyo.
“Di po ba noong araw: naubos na nga ang pondo, hindi pa alinsunod sa spesipikasyong kailangan natin ang binili nilang Kevlar Helmets. Imbes na sa US, sa ibang bansa sila bumili. May na-convict na po dahil dito. Pati ang isang hukom na diumano'y sangkot dito, natapos na ang imbestigasyong inutos ng Korte Suprema, at hinihintay natin ang kanilang pasya,” Aquino said.
Aquino is referring to Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong, who chairs the fourth division that acquitted businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in the questionable purchase of the Kevlar helmets.
He said the administration continues to support the modernization of forces at a time when the country faces security risks.
“Mulat po tayo sa mga hamon sa bansa, at alam din nating mahal ang kailangan nating mga kagamitan. Ngayon po, ikinalulugod kong iulat sa inyo: Tuloy-tuloy ang modernisasyon ng AFP.”
By September, 17 refurbished UH-1 helicopters will be in the country, he said.
Next year, two of the 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets the country purchased will also arrive. The rest will be received before the end of 2017, he added.
He said the government is also targeting to purchase 8 Bell combat utility helicopters, 2 anti-submarine helicopters, 10 more AgustaWestland-109 helicopters, 2 light-lift aircraft, 3 medium-lift aircraft, and a radar system.
The government also ordered M4 assault rifles, he said. By September, the number would have reached 50,629 units.
TRULY ARMED COPS
On the police front, the government was already able to achieve the 1:1 police-to-pistol ratio.
“Dati, nakakaligtaan ang kapulisan; ngayon, kinakalinga na sila ng estado, at talaga namang tinutumbasan nila ito ng wagas at masigasig na serbisyo,” he said.
Aquino presented a video of police women who responded against the Martilyo Gang during an incident in March this year at the Mall of Asia.
“Mabuti nga po't naabot na ang 1:1 police to pistol ratio, kaya't na-isyuhan na rin ng bagong baril ang ating mga rookie policewomen,” he said.