With possible external and internal assaults threatening the Philippines, Senator Dick Gordon underscored the urgency for setting aside funds for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
During the deliberation on the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) in the Senate, Gordon pointed out that despite the Bases Conversion and Development Act (BCDA), which was passed 25 years ago, there still appears to be no urgency in modernizing the military.
“This is something that we in Congress must pay attention to, every year, so we could really have some form of measure of protection for our country. In spite of the BCDA Law, after 25 years there is no improvement in the military. There doesn’t seem to be any urgency on this matter. We have arguments with big nations around us,” Gordon said.
The veteran legislator pointed out that the government should really set aside funds for the military’s modernization program because the Philippines could not keep on relying on the protection of other countries or on foreign donations of munitions.
“We cannot rely on other nations to protect us. This is something that we in Congress must pay attention to every year so we could really have some measure of protection for our country. We cannot just rely on the donation of other country (such as M-16 from China, AK47 from Russia) Kailangan ipakita natin na tayo ay titindig at maglalagay tayo ng pera,” the senator from Olongapo and Zambales said.
Gordon said a portion of the collection from TRAIN should be allocated annually for military modernization, which should be over and above the P25-billion annually that is allocated from the General Appropriations Act until 2019.
“We should really put in honest to goodness revenue-raising for the military. Every country that I know of – from America to Japan to every country in Europe, they have always put together something for their military,” he stressed.
Gordon has initially proposed a 15 percent allocation, but the Senate body approved 13 percent. The Department of Finance hopes the tax reform bill will be passed and signed into law by December to allow the government to implement the tax package measure by January next year.