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PHL proposes record P25-B defense spending next year  


(UPDATED 9:59 p.m.) The Philippines is proposing to spend a record P25 billion ($552 million) next year to purchase frigates, surveillance planes and radars to improve surveillance and detection in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), officials said on Monday.
 
The funds to modernize the military are part of President Benigno Aquino III's P3-trillion ($66.24 billion) budget bill in 2016, his last year in office. Aquino is no longer eligible to run for a second term.
 
The budget proposal is 15.1 percent more than the current appropriation of 2.606 trillion pesos, according to Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, adding that about 80 percent of the proposed government spending "will be eaten up by the forward estimates or the cost of ongoing programs and projects."
 
"In 2016, our proposal to Congress is P25 billion for the modernization program," Abad told Reuters, saying this would be the highest-ever spending for military modernization in two decades.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program has an allocation of P20 billion under the General Appropriations Act of 2015.
 
Abad said the government's proposed budget, including the defense spending plan, would be submitted to Congress next week after the President delivers his last State of the Nation Address on July 27.
 
A senior military general, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, told Reuters the funds would be used to acquire two frigates, two twin-engine long-range patrol aircraft, and three aerial surveillance radars.
 
The rest of the money would be for annual amortization of 12 FA50 light fighters ordered from South Korea. Two planes are due for delivery this December. ($1 = 45.2900 Philippine pesos)

Allocations for the modernization program shall only released upon submission by the DND to the DBM of the recommendation by the appropriate bids and awards committee for the award of contracts for the implementation of modernization projects in accordance with the provisions of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
 
According to the proposed General Appropriations Act, the DND shall submit to the DBM, the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance a quarterly Program Accountability Report on the modernization program.

The Secretary of National Defense and the agency's web administrator or his/her equivalent shall be responsible for ensuring that said quarterly reports are posted on the official website of the DND which shall be considered compliance with the said reportorial requirement. — Reuters with a report from GMA News Research/NB/JDS, GMA News 

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