Thursday, 5 July 2007

PGMA defines 3-year plan for AFP

Original report at Gov.Ph News

Manila -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has plotted the three-year target of her government for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP): to give strategic defeat to insurgency, modernize the military, advance the protection of human rights, give peace in Mindanao and expand alliances for regional and global security.

In her speech during the 60th Anniversary of the Philippine Air Force, she explained that the Human Security Act, which will take effect on July 15, will be the government’s basis to defeat terrorism in the country, to keep them away from shores and to be more effective in fighting terrorism with the ASEAN brothers.

With the country’s successful fiscal reforms, the Arroyo administration will now be able to implement reforms in the Philippine defense system. In the P17.5B budget allotted for AFP modernization, the biggest part of which is intended for equipment procurement and partly for soldiers’ benefits. The amount allocated for AFP modernization is much less than what was allocated to agricultural modernization in the past two years which is P30B.

The government will not only improve equipment but assure benefits for the men and women of the armed forces as well. The government will provide on-base housing facilities, scholarships and livelihood opportunities for families of the men and women in service. There are already increases in hazard pay and subsistence allowance of soldiers starting this month. These are parts of the first benefits of development and the men in uniform are called upon to work harder to lift the wings of the nation and fight for national and regional security.

In a related development, the government is now working on a new paradigm of peace in Mindanao which is founded on strong interfaith dialogue grounded on cultural awareness and fiscal reforms. This could be achieved by modernizing the development efforts and by modernizing the armed forces.

The first phase of the AFP modernization program has begun with the acquisition of 20 helicopters from the US and the OB10s from the Kingdom of Thailand. Instructions were given to Generals Esperon and Tolentino to bid for brand new helicopters before buying second hand helicopters. Five billion pesos were allocated for the purchase of new helicopters for the AFP. (PIA—MMIO)

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