Increased military spending for 2016 gains support in Senate

Senator Chiz Escudero expresses support to the increase in military spending aiming to boost the country’s defense capabilities amid concerns over China’s continuous military buildup in the disputed West Philippine Sea. However, he warns the government against buying old and dilapidated second-hand weapons and equipment.

Escudero said that as much as possible the government should purchase “brand new” military hardware if it really wants to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which is widely regarded as one of the weakest military forces in Southeast Asia.

“If we are going to pour in billions of pesos to improve the AFP, we might as well give our soldiers the best modern and sophisticated equipment we can get,” Escudero pointed out.

The lawmaker said it is high time the Philippines invests in “reasonably priced” brand-new military weapons and equipment, especially those that would improve the country’s maritime defense capability.

“The least the government can do is to make sure that we provide our military forces with better and serviceable aircraft, naval ships and other equipment,” he said.

Under the proposed P3.002 trillion national budget for 2016, the Department of National Defense (DND) ranks third among the line agencies with the highest allocation, next to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The 2016 budget proposal of the DND is P172 billion, P27.5 billion higher than its current budget of P144.5 billion.