MANILA — The Department of National Defense (DND) is looking for ways to address the “high level of wastage in ammunition” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Monday.
“During one of the briefings to me during the formal turnover, it has come to my attention that there is a high level of wastage in ammunition in different branches of the AFP. We should avoid this from happening,” Galvez told DND officials and personnel during his first flag-raising ceremony as the new defense chief at Camp Aguinaldo.
The DND is considering recycling ammunition for training as a possible solution, Galvez said.
“We will convert these to training ammo. Isa ‘yan sa mga gagawin natin, and hopefully we can have some procedures on how we can prevent ang tinatawag na wastage,” he said.
(That's one of the things we will do and hopefully we can have some procedures on how we can prevent so-called wastage.)
Galvez did not specify the extent of ammunition wastage in the AFP.
But he noted that the ammunition consumption has gone down due to decreased lethal operations against communist armed groups.
“Ang nakita natin sa Armed Forces, ang naging strategy kasi is non-lethal mostly. Ang civil-military operations napakalakas,” the defense chief said.
(We saw that in the Armed Forces, the strategy is non-lethal mostly. Civil-military operations were strengthened.)
A vaccine czar during the Duterte administration, Galvez also compared the use of ammunition to the handling of COVID-19 shots.
“I speak from experience as the vaccine czar during the previous administration. During our vaccine rollout, the government was able to maintain an acceptable degree of wastage and we always protect the vaccine as gold, meaning the vaccine is life,” he said.
The DND is looking into whether or not the shelf life of ammunition could be extended, Galvez said.
“Ang wastage natin, dapat meron lang authorized level, katulad ng ginagawa sa vaccine... We accept na talagang may mga wastage. May tinatawag tayong shelf life,” the defense chief said.
Galvez also urged the defense department to take care of its personnel.
“We know people can do everything when they are in high morale and they make even impossible things possible. The leadership of the DND would like to assure all of you that we are committed to ensure your welfare, whether you are working behind your desk or in the frontlines,” he told defense personnel.
“We need to keep our organization relevant at all times… The people need to feel our presence and relevance. This is in line with our mandate of preserving the territorial integrity of our nation, and protecting and serving the Filipino people in the best way possible,” he added.