The Philippines, incontestable country to feed its needs to stronger defense as we fight for our right in claiming the West Philippine Sea territory. Lack of manpower is not really the problem, for we are gigantic for our little island, but lack of technology and the supporting actor itself, the departmental budget.
Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Philippine Marines is in its urgent need as they face their baleful everyday into protecting our claims to West Philippine Sea. Acquisition of advanced aircraft and maritime war crafts are one of the biggest item finding Philippines is looking for to protect its sole interest against contesting countries especially the most active claimer, People’s Republic of China.
The Philippine Air Force Funding Debate
Last December 2015, debate had been held in the House of Representatives (HOR) that proposes a budget of 10 Billion pesos to acquire multi-role combat aircraft. An allocated fund for Conditional Cash Transfers to poor families shall be deducted of worth 8 Billion pesos to support our Defense needs.
Since the additional budget shall be taken away from Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT), more or less 500,000 families will be affected and their pro-poor family program which is a dissatisfaction to people in great need.
The plan failed, instead a 1 Billion pesos was allotted to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) for the procurement of additional air assets.
Bicameral Conference Committee Override Decision
In January 2016, an increase of 10 Billion pesos for the Philippine Air Force was achieved by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the Bicameral Conference Committee that shall be used for purchasing the sorely need of multirole combat aircraft of the Philippines.
Senators Ralph Recto and Paolo “Bam” Aquino and other members of House contingent was with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as he bewailed for the low budget prepared for our national defense and security despite the rampant challenge in our West Philippine Sea territories.
Senator Enrile managed to cull 4 Billion-peso budget of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), 5 Billion pesos from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) a project of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and 1 Billion pesos from the President’s Contingency Fund that sums up to P10 Billion.
With a collaboration with Senator Loren Legarda they managed to transfer 1 Billion pesos from the budget of Reproductive Health program, and a sum of 11 Billion pesos was transferred to the budget of Philippine Air Force. P116 Billion was originally allotted to Department of National Defense but rose up to P127 Billion, all thanks to Enrile and his associates.
Philippines – US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement
Philippines is always among the weakest security and defense in international arena and in order to maintain our disputed claim to West Philippine Sea. We had to use a partly sunken Philippine vessel as a base for Philippine Marines. Just recently Philippines acquired jet fighters from South Korea which added to our jet trainer planes and old propeller-driven aircrafts.
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile served as the defense minister on President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ regime and by that he had the eye of a hawk to stronger defense posture of Philippines to meet the demands of internal defense and external pressures. Also to look forward on managing the danger brought by leftist groups in Mindanao.
The additional 11 Billion pesos enlighten our lights in our overall national defense in the country. United States of America (USA) under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which was upheld by the Supreme Court (SC), we’ll be getting some aid and through this we may be able to supplement own resources and capabilities and hopefully one day we can stand our own feet and fight our own fight.