Teodoro raises possible WPS defense gaps due to unfunded modernization projects

The Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday that unfunded military modernization projects may lead to gaps in deterring incursions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“The immediate effect is that it would leave gaps in our command and control, gaps in our ability to deter and detect incursions into the West Philippine Sea,” DND Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said during the hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations on the department’s proposed budget for next year.

“The development of our overall defense posture will, of course, be encumbered again,” he added.

Teodoro was responding to a query regarding the potential effects of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program’s unfunded projects.

The DND had proposed a budget of P115,181,406,000 for the AFP Modernization Program for 2024, but it has been allocated only P50,000,000,000 under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) that was submitted to Congress for approval.

Due to this, AFP modernization projects worth P65,181,408,000 are unfunded.

Teodoro said he instructed the AFP to review and revise the target assets that will be acquired as they may no longer be relevant at the present time.

There were some delays in the acquisition of some assets in the modernization program due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, it gives us a greenfield opportunity to re-vision and re-horizon our modernization. So I think we’d rather have, if we can fund it, contingent on new modernization requirements, then I think it would make better value for every peso spent,” Teodoro said.

The DND has a proposed budget of P229,934,819,000 under the NEP 2024. — VBL, GMA Integrated News

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