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Bases Conversion Authority to contribute P1.7B to AFP modernization fund

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority is set to remit within the next few months P1.7 billion to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Trust Fund. The fund finances the military’s efforts to acquire and upgrade its equipment.
In a briefing at Fort Bonifacio, BCDA president Arnel Paciano Casanova on Thursday said the amount will be in addition to the P325 million the agency had remitted to the trust fund earlier this year.
“Last year, we were able to remit to the AFP Modernization [Trust] Fund about P2.1 billion and this year – we are even at the third quarter – we are expecting a remittance of about P2.025 billion,” Casanova said.
BCDA has generated a total of P55.767 billion from the disposition of the military camps from May 1993 up to August 2012. Of the amount, 39 percent or P21.788 billion went to the military.
“Soon, the AFP can draw the additional amount [the P1.7 billion] from the National Treasury to fund its modernization program…This will assure the AFP of a sustained flow of funds to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the appropriate and modern equipment to defend our land,” said Casanova.
Also, Casanova said the military’s share in the disposition of the military camps in Metro Manila is expected to increase, citing sale, lease and joint venture transactions that the BCDA would be undertaking.
The amount that the AFP modernization program gets from the BCDA is on top of the monies it receives from the national budget, and from its share in the operation of the Malampaya gas-to-power project in Palawan.
Top defense and military officials have recently raised the urgent need to acquire more modern ships and aircraft to protect the country’s vast maritime interest, particularly in the West Philippine Sea.
The country is locked in a territorial dispute with China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam over the Spratly Island, a chain of islands and islets in the West Philippine Sea that are believed to be rich in oil and minerals deposits.
Philippines and China are also disputing ownership over the Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal off Zambales. — DVM, GMA News