Sen. Enrile urges
defense officials to ask Palace to increase DND's budget
By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, Oct. 14 (PNA) – Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile urged
the Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday to ask Malacanang to
increase the budget for the improvement of the country’s defense capability
against internal and external threats.
”Mr. Secretary, I’m telling you the amount of your budget is miniscule to
the needs of this country. You better work it out and tell Malacanang this
is not enough,” Enrile told DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during the Senate
deliberations on the DND’s proposed PhP158.86 billion budget for 2016.
”We will do that your, honor,” Gazmin replied to Enrile, the former defense
minister of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Defying hearing problem and old age, the 91-year-old Enrile lectured the DND
officials for an hour and two minutes on how to handle external threats,
particularly the West Philippine Sea’s territorial dispute with China.
Enrile advised the country’s security officials not to rely on the United
States’ commitment to help if the Philippines is attacked by external
”We have to assess this by ourselves and not rely on what these political
U.S. leaders say. You know, the U.S. is going to pull out in the world
scene. They are going back to their position in pre-World War II. So you
have to think about that; what would be the impact on us,” Enrile said.
During the budget hearing, Enrile and Senate Finance Committee chairperson
Senator Loren Legarda learned from the DND officials that out of the total
PhP405 billion provided in the two Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
Modernization Laws since 1995, only PhP83 billion had been spent for the
”So how do we expect the AFP to fulfill its mandate of protecting our seas,
our skies, our land, our territories, 100 million population, our climate
change threats, internal threats and external threats if we do not have even
half of the budget of the two AFP modernization laws?” Legarda said.
Legarda believes it is Congress that is remiss in its commitment to provide
enough funds for the AFP modernization program.
”We should stop enacting laws that we cannot fund,” Legarda said.
However, Enrile said it should be the Executive department that should ask
for the necessary budget from Congress.
”The budget is prepared by the Executive and it is their responsibility to
calculate the security needs of the country and if the Executive presented
this request to Congress and then Congress did not approve, then we can be
blamed,” Enrile said.
Under the 2016 proposed budget, the DND has allotted only PhP5 billion to
augment the PhP20 billion for the AFP Modernization Program under an
extension law that was approved in 2012.
The DND has actually allotted PhP25.8 billion for the capital outlay to
boost the air, sea and land defense capability of the AFP.
Under the first phase of the AFP Modernization Program from 1995 to 2010,
the DND spent PhP63 billion but none has been allotted in acquiring air
Voltaire said it was only under the second phase of the AFP modernization
program where the government inked a deal for the acquisition of 12 units of
South Korea-made jet fighters and purchased 10 patrol ships.
”The delivery of the 12 jet fighters will be completed in 2017,” Voltaire
told the senators.
The Senate panel submitted for plenary consideration the DND proposed budget
which is PhP16.56 billion higher compared to its current year’s budget.