Sen. Lacson sponsored the proposed PhP191,340,253,000 budget of the Department of National Defense for 2020. The amount is about 4% of the 2020 budget. The key security strategy for 2018 indicated a minimum of 2% of the budget for the DND.
QUOTES and NOTES:
BREAKDOWN of the DND’s 2020 BUDGET:
The proposed appropriations include:
* Office of the Secretary: P625.091 million
* General Arsenal: P1.302 billion
* National Defense College of the Philippines: P118.804 million
* Office of Civil Defense: P1.236 billion
* Philippine Veterans Affairs Office: P592.454 million
* Veterans Memorial Medical Center: P1.754 billion
* AFP: P185.709 billion, including P92.413 billion for Philippine Army, P26.236 billion for Philippine Air Force, P29.029 billion for Philippine Navy, P38.03 billion for the AFP GHQ
Sen. Lacson said they are also proposing to amend the appropriations language to reflect the Philippine Marine Corps as a key budgeting unit. “While their budget is still lodged with the Philippine Navy, it specifies how much is earmarked for Philippine Marine Corps.”
Defense Spending Compared to China, ASEAN neighbors:
Sen. Lacson answered questions raised by Sen. Tolentino that the PH is 6th in terms of defense budget in ASEAN. “Sa palagay ko hindi tama yan. Walang hustisya para sa armed forces at defense establishment. Meron pa tayong internal conflict dito. They are still facing problem of terrorism in the south and where else in the country. Agrabyado kung No. 6 lang tayo sa ASEAN… No. 6 na tayo (sa ASEAN), Malaysia overtook us.”
Sen. Lacson added he had a private discussion with DND Sec. Lorenzana. “We can revisit the revised AFP Modernization Plan para magkaroon ng kaunting adjustments. Napagusapan namin napag-aralan nila kung pwede magpasa uli ng batas o bisitahin ang revised AFP Modernization Plan.”
On Sen. Tolentino’s observation that China has the highest defense outlay with $177.49B, possibly surpassing that of the US, Sen. Lacson said: “I could not agree more, wala tayong basehan i-compare ang ating sarili sa People’s Republic of China, ang kanilang People’s Liberation Army. Yan pa hinaharap nating problema lalo sa West Philippine Sea.”
Telecom agreement between AFP and Dito Telecommunity:
On Sen. Pangilinan’s questions regarding security concerns about the MOA between Dito Telecommunity and the AFP, Sen. Lacson said the AFP has taken needed precautions. “They have taken the necessary precautionary measures in the aspect of security kaya may clause na either party could terminate. That I think is the ideal language of the MOA. This is a better MOA. Once they see some infractions they can unilaterally terminate the agreement.”
“They continuously improve on that regulation, that particular document. I would assume that because they have to adjust to the demands of the times,” he added.
Sen. Lacson said DND Sec. Lorenzana has not finally decided on the MOA, and is waiting for feedback from the parties that raised concerns about it. As for Huawei, “lest we forget, it is in partnership with duopoly, Globe and Smart. Doon sila kumukuha ng pieces of equipment.”
He also said the concerns of personal data of subscribers “will be included in their consideration.”
Prioritize Research and Development:
Sen. Lacson lamented that while the government needs to bolster its research and development, the problem is in the national government policy. “We took a look, No. 54 tayo sa Global Index, our R and D is a pitiful 3.9% of the entire budget.”
“Paano tayo mag-advance in this department kung nilalagak na pondo ng gobyerno for R and D is 3.9% of the entire budget?”
“I think we should take a good hard look at our priorities. I’ve been vocal about this even during DBCC meeting… We are not giving much importance to R and D.”
Thanking AFP chief of staff:
Sen. Lacson said he privately thanked AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Noel Clement for his quick action in coordinating with his office to send tents to quake-hit Cotabato.
“Isang tawag lang kami through our liaison, kinabukasan natanggap ang good for 800 (people na) tents,” he said. Gen. Clement was confirmed as AFP chief of staff by the Commission on Appointments.