Senior lawmaker pushes sale of military real estate

August 13, 2010 11:39 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Aug. 12 — A senior lawmaker is urging Congress to fast track the approval of a measure authorizing President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" C. Aquino III to identify military real estate that could be disposed of to raise funds for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon has filed House Bill no. 1162 that will help identify the disposable military camps and reservations in the country.

"The bill will help the President to expedite the modernization plan of the AFP," said Biazon, a former AFP chief.

In his state of the nation address (SONA), President Aquino had included AFP modernization in the priority program of his administration, saying the government is considering the US$ 100-million offer by a group of foreign investors for the rental of the Philippine Navy (PN) Headquarters in Roxas Blvd. and Naval Station in Fort Bonifacio.

The investors also proposed to shoulder the expenses for the transfer of the PN headquarters to Camp Aguinaldo and remit to the Philippine government certain amount of income from the businesses it will put up.

In pushing for the immediate passage of the proposed bill, Biazon said "almost 15 years have past but we are yet to see how the program will be fully implemented. We are lagging behind its self-imposed schedule and leaves much to be desired."

Republic Act 7898 or the "AFP Modernization Act," was signed into law on February 23, 1995. The law has allocated P50 billion for five years to finance the modernization program.

"Records show that only about P60 billion has actually been allocated for its implementation, of which P5 billion is not even funded. Dramatically, this amount falls short of the P50 billion ceiling that the law provides for the first five years of program implementation," said Biazon.

"The entire government must provide equally creative solutions if the objective behind the program to modernize the AFP to a level where it can effectively perform its constitutional duty as protector of the State and people," he said.

Biazon said his proposed measure seeks to create the Military Real Estate Development Authority to undertake the disposal and manage the development of military real estate. (PNA)

V3/LGI

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