AFP assured to get P40 billion for modernization as PGH might get budget cut

·2 min read
Air Force pilots stand beside UH-1H helicopters during a ceremony at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Metro Manila, June 9, 2007. According to Surigao Del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, the  Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is assured of receiving at least another P40 billion for its modernization program. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo
Air Force pilots stand beside UH-1H helicopters during a ceremony at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Metro Manila, June 9, 2007. According to Surigao Del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is assured of receiving at least another P40 billion for its modernization program. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (AFPMP) is bound to get a P40 billion increase, as indicated in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for FY 2023.

Surigao Del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said that the amount “is meant to sustain the periodic payments for multi-year modernization contracts, and to make the initial payments for new acquisitions.”

The lawmaker favors more modernization projects for the Philippine Navy and Philippine Marine Corps, especially with “vulnerabilities” at the West Philippine Sea.

There is also P5 billion in “unprogrammed appropriations”, meaning that state forces might get P5 billion more on top of the P40 billion, should the government find sources to finance the AFPMP, such as loans and beyond-target revenue collections.

Meanwhile, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) which served as the National COVID-19 Referral Center, is bound to get a P893 million budget cut. PGH’s budget in the current year is P6.30 billion, but the government plans to lower this amount to P5.41 billion for FY 2023 – a move that naturally caught the attention of the hospital’s union.

All UP Workers Union (AUPWU) Manila hopes that the PGH budget would actually double to P10 million, rather than get a budget cut.

“PGH is known as a premier training hospital and ‘Ospital ng Bayan.’ [The] budget cut is a clear indication that people’s health is not a priority of this government,” AUPWU Manila President Karen Faurillo said.

On a lighter note, Senate Finance Committee chair Sonny Angara mentioned that they will argue to increase the people’s hospital’s budget, which the Senate historically does. However, the amount has yet to be specified.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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