The Department of National Defense is seeking P75 billion in the next five years to build the military’s territorial defense capability, a defense official said.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin recommended the amount to President Benigno Aquino last week and has made a similar proposal to both Houses of Congress, Undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel Fernando Manalo said in a press briefing.

The amount is an adjusted portion of the P50 billion that was allocated for the Armed Forces’ modernization in 1995 but was not all released, he said.

The proposal, which is sponsored by Senators Panfilo Lacson, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, and Ralph Recto, is now on its second reading at the Upper House, he said.

If approved, the Department of National Defense will ask the Department of Budget and Management for a “multi-year obligation authority” that will allow it to recieve P15 billion every year starting 2013.

Among the equipment to be bought with the amount are lead-in fighter trainer jets, close-air support planes, long range patrol aircraft, medium lift planes, and radars, Manalo said.

“We want the capability to monitor maritime and aerospace domains,” he said. (John Roson)

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