DND re-allocated P17.4 billion in AFP modernization funds to PH’s COVID-19 fight

by Warren Ryan Revoltar

About P17.4 billion in Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization funds were re-allocated by the Department of National Defense (DND) to the country’s fight against COVID-19, which has already infected more than 50,000 people.

In the process, “nine big-ticket modernization projects,” mostly related to “territorial defense” would be shelved according to Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong.

Andolong also stressed that due to the military’s ongoing internal security operations, the military cannot shelve the acquisition of munitions.

“What’s left in our budget are funds for projects which are in the advanced stages of procurement. The entire modernization program has also been set back by three to five years,” said Andolong, who declined to give details on the projects.

Based on the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to produce funds for the fight against virus, the defense department decided to re-allocate the P17.4-billion.

Andolong added that following the order of the country’s Chief Executive, Dominguez then asked government agencies “to revert funds that can be sacrificed for our COVID-19, so that is the response of the DND, so the modernization fund was cut.”

“It was pushed back. We are hoping to complete them sometime later on,” Andolong said.

“We learned lessons (from COVID-19), albeit the lesson is a little painful. We’re giving up some of our territorial defense plans to deal with this current crisis, which will be here for quite some time,” Andolong added.

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