House Appropriations Committee chair Karlo Nograles said that the P25-billion Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program will improve the military's fighting capabilities in all aspects.
In a news release, Nograles said the Department of National Defense has already given final approval of the details of the P25 billion for the modernization plan.
"We're talking about land, air, and sea upgrades for the AFP. This modernization program will erase doubts regarding the Duterte administration's commitment to our brave men and women in uniform and protecting the country as a whole," Nograles said.
"While our military personnel will no doubt enjoy their well-deserved increase in base pay this year, their morale will get another huge boost thanks to the new combat vehicles they will be getting," he added.
Included in the forthcoming purchases under the modernization plan are 24 attack helicopters worth P13.8 billion, one fixed wing jet worth P2 billion, and one turboprop patrol aircraft worth P1.8 billion.
"If the acquisition of the attack helicopters will be subject to a multi-year acquisition, then the list would also include 44 units of light attack tanks. These will be worth P9.4 billion," Nograles said.
The program will also include payment, through multi-year obligations, for two frigates, an amphibious assault vehicle, and a surveillance radar worth a total of P8 billion.
"As you can see, we have our troops covered in all areas. We won't stop there either as the upgrades to our mechanized units will continue in the coming years," Nograles said.
"Let this send a message to the enemies of the state, especially terrorist groups, that we are fully equipped and capable of defeating you," he added.
The House appropriations panel has also made contributions for the base pay hike of military and uniformed personnel.
As many as 381,381 soldiers and police officers will initially benefit from this increase, Nograles said.
The pay hike, which required the allocation of an additional P64.24 billion, will double the salaries of a Police Officer (PO) 1 in the Philippine National Police (PNP) or a Private in the AFP, as well as equivalent ranks in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Public Safety College, Philippine Coast Guard, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.
On January 1, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the joint resolution authorizing the base pay increase, which also took effect on the same day. — BM, GMA News