The Department of National Defense is looking to spend P35 billion for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2019, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.
Lorenzana said P25 billion is allocated under the P3.757-trillion national budget while P10 billion will be from the revenues of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the agency in charge of transforming former military bases and properties into centers of economic growth.
“The government has allocated P25 billion,excluding 'yung kikitain natin sa BCDA which is at P10 million. 'Yung P35 billion ang ating gagamitin next year. We have to live with that, kasi nga napakahirap mag-procure eh,” Lorenzana said in an interview.
Lorenzana said the DND had to live with the allocations under the national budget and the BCDA proceeds for 2019.
"So we submitted a proposal for the procurement of equipment for the next five years which is P292 billion so almost P300 bilion 'yun. Pero wish list lang namin yun," Lorenzana said.
"The government has allocated P25 billion, excluding 'yung kikitain natin sa BCDA which is at P10 million. 'Yung P35 billion ang ating gagamitin next year. We have to live with that, kasi nga napakahirap mag-procure eh," he added.
“The process is too tedious, Ngayon, 'yung ating budgeting system na in-introduce ni [Budget] Secretary Diokno is only one year. Dapat ubusin mo talaga nang one year 'yan. Otherwise, mawawala sa iyo eh. So we will find out how we will be able to use up the P25 billion and the P10 billion from BCDA,” Lorenzana said.
“Sabi ko nga, pagpasok pa lang ng 2019, dapat umpisahan na natin 'yung procurement process dahil nga it takes time e, especially for big ticket items like helicopters, ships...the gestation period is very long," he added.
Lorenzana said acquiring a frigate alone could take four years to process.
“'Yung mga baril, sandali lang 'yan, isang buwan, dalawang buwan, okay na 'yang kontratang yan, 'Yung mga vests, mga helmet, but for 'yun nga, mga malalaki, mga capital items, it takes time,” Lorenzana said. —NB, GMA News