Pandemic pushes back military modernization program: defense chief

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2020 02:10 PM

Pandemic pushes back military modernization program: defense chief 1
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana answers questions from the media after an inspection of the Eva Macapagal Super Terminal which was converted into a COVID-19 treatment facility in Pier 15, Manila on April 21, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The coronavirus pandemic will push back the Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernization program, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday, as the government continues to focus on responding to the health crisis.

Funding for some modernization projects of the military had to be allocated to the government's pandemic response, Lorenzana said.

"Itong mga projects natin sa modernization na natanggalan ng pera ay naiurong natin sa mga susunod na taon kasi hindi naman sila masyado critical sa ating mission," Lorenzana said in a forum ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's 5th State of the Nation Address.

(Projects for the modernization that lost funding will be moved to the next coming years because these are not too critical for our mission.)

The defense chief said P9.3 billion in funds supposedly for the military's modernization program had to be realigned. 

The said amount is part of the P19.3-billion funding of the Department of National Defense that was reprogrammed for the pandemic fight.

The Philippine military has long sought to upgrade facilities and equipment to bolster defense capabilities. It currently has a modest fleet of naval and air assets, and a still limited arsenal.