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AFP to propose new modernization plan

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With the current AFP modernization program set to expire by the end of this year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is pushing for a new one.

The 6th Civil Relation Group of the AFP reveals that during the visit at the Western Command (WESCOM) on November 4 of AFP Vice Chief of Staff LTGen Reynaldo B. Mapagu AFP said the military is crafting a new program to enhance the capabilities of the armed forces.

Earlier reports said the AFP submitted a proposed P428 billion appropriation for its new modernization program.

LTGen Mapagu AFP also suggested during his visit at WESCOM that funds for the upgrading of the military’s capabilities be taken from the proceeds of oil exploration projects, such as the Malampaya Gas-to-Power Project in northern Palawan.

The Vice Chief of Staff said that out of the 34 existing service contracts issued by the Department of Energy (DOE), 18 are in Palawan.

The revenue that will be generated from these oil exploration projects can provide the fund needed for the acquisition of new equipment for the military, LTGen Mapagu AFP said.

“If we want something done, obstacles can be overcome,” LTGen Mapagu AFP pointed out, referring to the challenges that the military faces in implementing its modernization program.

WESCOM Commander LTGen Juancho M. Sabban AFP, in a related matter, asked the AFP Vice Chief of Staff that the security of prospective oil exploration projects, particularly in the southern part of the province be placed under the centralized command of WESCOM.

Unlike Malampaya, LTGen Sabban AFP wants WESCOM to take full responsibility in the security of these potential oil exploration projects.

In the case of Malampaya, a special task force was created by virtue of a presidential proclamation—the Joint Task Force Malampaya—to primarily secure the gas-to-power project because of its huge significance in the energy department.

Considered as the largest natural gas development project in the country, Malampaya can provide up to one-third of the energy requirements of the entire Luzon and one-fourth of Metro Manila. It extracts natural gas and transports it to three power plants in Batangas.

Thinking “five years ahead,” LTGen Sabban AFP said the security of oil companies conducting seismic surveys in other parts of the province should already be considered so as to be prepared if and when their tests as to whether there is an oil and gas reserves in their area of study yield positive results.

By RVC-PIA9 ZBST




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