DND eyes 4 projects to upgrade military bases

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 26 2013 01:24 AM | Updated as of Dec 26 2013 09:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is set to implement at least four projects aimed at upgrading military bases under the new Armed Forces Modernization Law.

The projects, amounting to over P2 billion, seek to support new military assets to be acquired by the government.

The four base-related projects are the Air Force basing support systems for long-range patrol aircraft (P187 million), lead-in fighter trainer jets (P135.99 million), Air Force radar system (P825.52 million) and Navy basing support system (P1 billion).

The base support project for the long-range patrol aircraft will be implemented in Lipa, Palawan and Zamboanga.

The DND also bared plans to acquire two units of long-range patrol aircraft worth P5.98 billion and 12 lead in-fighter trainer jets worth P18.9 billion to boost its territorial defense capabilities and security operations.

The Air Force plans to buy three air surveillance radars worth P2.68 billion to improve its monitoring capabilities.

On the other hand, the Navy is still threshing out its P1-billion basing support system consisting of 10 projects.

The old Armed Forces Modernization Act, which took effect in 1995, gave the military a chance to modernize its assets and equipment in 15 years with a P331-billion fund.

However, the program was stalled due to lack of funds and the changing priorities of the national leadership. As a result, the Philippine military has been dubbed one of the most poorly equipped in the Asia-Pacific region.

Last year, President Aquino signed a new modernization law to provide more resources to the military’s upgrade efforts.

More than P85 billion is required to fund the program, which will get P15 billion per year from the national budget until 2017.

Another source of funding is the President’s commitment, which is expected to channel P632.18 million to the program yearly until 2015.

A total of P4.78 billion will come from proceeds of the Malampaya natural gas project, in which the government has a share from taxes, royalties and charges, and remittances from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.