Stepped up arms purchase pushed for PH defense

August 22, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 203 views

GOVERNMENT procurement reforms should lead to the expedited purchase of defense equipment the country needs to protect its territory, especially from the illegal incursions of China in the West Philippine Sea.”

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri issued this statement after calling for the removal of bottlenecks in the government procurement of goods and services and directing it to economic managers who appeared before senators on Wednesday to defend the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024.

He said that the acquisition process can still be “stringent but speedy so that recipients will get the right equipment at the right price at the right time.”

Complementing the passage of amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act is the pending Senate bill on boosting the domestic defense industry, the Senate chief said.

Lamenting the state of the country’s Navy and Coast Guard, Zubiri said “we need to procure the best and not necessarily the cheapest equipment because in military spending, the cheapest is not the best if it will soon fall apart.”

“There are several allies who would like to give us slightly used, not necessarily brand new, but good equipment so our law must be able to respond to this reality otherwise the acquisition will not push through for lack of legal basis,” he added.

“You know, when you buy an aircraft, even a 10-year-old aircraft, as long as it is well maintained, it can still be durable within the next 30 years,” Zubiri explained.

To complement the amendments to the government procurement law, Zubiri also pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 315 or the “Philippine Defense Industry Development Act,” a measure envisioned to promote the local production of defense equipment and materiel.

It revitalizes the Self Reliant Defense Posture (SRDP) Program implemented in the 1970s to support the growing military hardware requirements of the AFP. The measure seeks to strengthen the SRDP Program by incentivizing in-country enterprises to help grow the local defense industry.