Sunday, February 19, 2012

Modernization not getting full support from military — DND chief

The Department of National Defense (DND) has conceded that some members within the military disagree as to whether reforms in government, particularly in the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are necessary.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, during the alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) held at Fort del Pilar in Baguio City yesterday, declined to identify the groups opposing the modernization, and instead expressed optimism that it would materialize before the end of the term of President Aquino.

Gazmin disclosed that the DND has already approved 10 percent of the 138 modernization projects in AFP.

The DND secretary noted that the military modernization projects will hopefully be approved until November this year.

The AFP sought to buy force protection equipment such as bullet-proof vest, helmets, ammunition.

Gazmin said the DND has been checking military equipment made in Italy, South Korea, France and Spain.

He added the transactions of purchasing the military equipment will be done government to government.

Aquino has allocated P80 billion for the military modernization projects.

Gazmin claimed that before the President’s term, the military is more modernized and equipped.

“Perhaps, before 2016 we will have modern military equiptment,” Gazmin said.

Relatedly, Aquino failed to show up at the PMA Alumni Homecoming.

He was supposedly the guest of honor for this year’s PMA alumni celebration.

It was Gazmin who read Aquino’s message to the alumni and cadets at the ceremony that was held infront of the Borromeo field inside the PMA campus.

The said event hosted by PMA Sandigan Class of 1992 were attended by hundreds of cavaliers and cadets.

PMA information officer, Insp. Carisma Santawana said Baguio City has been placed on full alert status until February 28, 2012 since the City is set to celebrate the Panagbenga Festival 2012.

At least 1,000 PNP personnel, traffic police, tourist police, Special Weapons and Tactics Teams (SWAT) and Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) teams have been deployed in the city to maintain the peace and order situation during the event.

During the PMA homecoming, some 18 alumni were given recognition including the lifetime achievement award, outstanding award, outstanding achievement award, award for highest command category.

Gazmin was the guest of honor and AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa.

Next month, Aquino is set to be the guest of honor during the PMA graduation.
By Gina P. Elorde
The Daily Tribune

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