Bataan Hails Arsenal Modernization Plan

BALANGA CITY, Bataan - Second District Rep. Abet S. Garcia revealed yesterday that the security and economic development of the province and the rest of the country will be further boosted after President Benigno S. Aquino III signed a landmark legislation modernizing the Government Arsenal based here as part of the P75-billion program to upgrade the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Saying it is a legislation that he had originally authored, Rep. Garcia said Republic Act No. 10349 or the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program seeks to develop the army into a multi-mission oriented force capable of effectively addressing internal and external security threats.

In an interview with this correspondent inside his house here, the bachelor solon said the AFP modernization program has a budget of P75 billion for the first five years of implementation which includes the procurement of major weapons and non-weapon equipment and technology, and the construction of needed major infrastructures.

Garcia, the eldest son of Gov. Tet Garcia, said the law was a "landmark legislation" that was consolidated from his original House Bill No. 76 which sought to modernize the Government Arsenal, the country's maker of basic weaponry and ammunition, located in Lamao, Limay town.

"I filed this bill as early as the 14th Congress precisely to rehabilitate our 370-hectare Government Arsenal in Lamao, Limay, Bataan which, to date, remains under-utilized and unproductive," said Garcia.

He said only four types of ammunition are produced in the defense estate: the 7.62mm M80, 5.56mm M193, Cal .45 M1911, and 9mm Parabellum.

"There is a need to upgrade the capability of the Government Arsenal to produce not only small arms ammunition but also higher caliber ammunition such as 40 cal., and even mortars and other crew-served weapons ammunition," Garcia said.

With the passage of the law, Garcia said the development of the land is projected to create more jobs for Bataeños and become a catalyst for economic activity.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), which also gets its munitions from the arsenal, has expressed elation over the law with a top local official saying will be integral in sustaining national security and public safety.

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