The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has contributed P8 billion for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the first two years of the administration of President Duterte.
The amount represents 20 percent of the total P40 billion received by the men and women in uniform from BCDA since the state-run agency was created in 1992.
“That is very, very significant. Two out of the 25 years of BCDA, and under the term of President Duterte, 20 percent of the total P40 billion was remitted to AFP,” BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio Dizon said Thursday.
At a forum with public information officers of the AFP on Thursday, Dizon expressed high hopes that the trend “would keep on going up.”
“That just shows everyone how important the AFP is to this administration. We want this to just keep on growing and growing,” he said.
Dizon stressed BCDA’s mandate to transform military bases into premier centers of economic growth.
“BCDA is here, it exists to help strengthen our Armed Forces while we build great cities. That’s what really BCDA is all about,” he said.
The event held Thursday was also attended by Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. and Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong.
For his part, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin Jr. recognized BCDA as an “active partner” not only in AFP modernization but also on infrastructure development.
“I believe that the support will be increasing and forthcoming from the BCDA. Again, we welcome such effort and initiative from the BCDA,” he said.
Padilla, for his part, said that the government’s support for the AFP boosts the morale of the troops, especially after the Marawi siege.
“We felt the strong backing of the public, and of course, the commander-in-chief himself for him to make a point to come to Marawi,” Padilla said.
Duterte has given soldiers the assurance that the further modernization of the military will be one of his administration’s top priorities.