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DND OIC says all modernization projects under review

All of the Department of National Defense's modernization projects for the Armed Forces of the Philippines are now under review, DND officer in charge Jose Faustino Jr. has said.

Faustino made the remark when asked about the DND's review of the helicopter deal the Duterte administration entered with Russia and if it was related to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict.

“We’re not targeting just one. All, lahat ng modernization projects namin tinitignan namin ito. As I said, is it within the budget?  Is it relevant right now? Is the technology na kailangan namin up to date?” Faustino said at a news conference.

(We’re not targeting just one—we are reviewing all our modernization projects. As I said: is it within the budget, is it relevant right now, is the technology that we need up to date?)

“The review is not like fault-finding. We are not looking for any graft and corruption cases, issues there. It is aligning it to the current needs, the situation right now, the budget allocated for it and all,” Faustino said.

Then Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in March said that the Philippines would proceed with the acquisition of 17 helicopters from Russia despite the latter's conflict with Ukraine, the Department of National Defense (DND) said.

Lorenzana in a statement said that the deal and initial payment for the project were made even before the start of the crisis in Ukraine.

The contract price for the 17 helicopters is $12.7 billion. The delivery is expected in two years.

“The contract and the initial payment for the Mi-17 heavy lift helicopter acquisition project were completed before the crisis in Ukraine erupted,” Lorenzana said.

“We are upholding our contractual obligations, and are taking note of the circumstances that may affect the project,” he added.

However, Lorenzana in May said the funding for the maintenance of new military assets would be a challenge for the next administration.

According to him, the top military and government officials have to persuade the Congress to allot the budget needed for the maintenance.

Lorenzana said funding could also be a problem as the modernization program was set to proceed to its “Horizon 3” where the assets would be more sophisticated. —Joviland Rita/NB, GMA News