Duterte pushes P209-B defense budget, cites terror threats

by Inquirer | August 29, 2020

The government is seeking P209.1 billion to fund the Department of National Defense’s (DND) campaign against terrorism as well as the military’s modernization program, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his budget message to Congress.

“The DND will receive a P209.1-billion budget to address threats and combat terrorism in the country. This budget also supports the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program amounting to P33 billion,” Mr. Duterte said on Friday.

The President highlighted the need to uphold the rule of law and to maintain peace and order “to ensure that this country will grow into a strong and resilient nation with a sustainable future.”

According to the proposed budget posted on the Department of Budget and Management’s website, the Philippine Army will get the biggest chunk of the allocation at P96.8 billion.

For the AFP General Headquarters, the proposed budget was P45.4 billion, of which P33 billion would be for the modernization program. The Philippine Navy was allotted P31.1 billion.

The Philippine Air Force has a proposed budget of P29.8 billion, while P1.3 billion was set for the government arsenal buildup.

The remaining balance of about P4.7 billion will go to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Veterans Memorial Medical Center and other agencies.

Crime prevention

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has a proposed budget of P246.1 billion, of which P46 million will be used to fund the programs of the National Police Commission for crime prevention.

The Philippine National Police has a more sizable P165.3 billion of its proposed P190.5 billion funding for its crime prevention program.

The President allocated P77 million for the Supreme Court-led Justice Sector Convergence Program “to achieve greater coordination and interoperability among the different agencies in the justice sector even during the pandemic.”

“Similarly, P5 million will go to the development and implementation of the National Justice Information to establish a real-time, common and integrated information system in the criminal justice sector. The system will allow for seamless and secure data sharing among criminal justice agencies to facilitate a more effective administration of justice,” he said.

A proposed P1.3 billion will be allocated for the operation of drug rehabilitation centers.

Mr. Duterte said these rehabilitation centers would resume admission following the adjustment of regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.