The well-funded modernization and capability upgrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will soon enable it to defend and secure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, the Department of National Defense (DnD) disclosed on Tuesday.
The DnD said it has allocated P8 billion for the procurement of modern air and sea assets for the use of the Philippine Navy (PN), which has the priority in the ongoing modernization owing to the volatile situation in the West Philippine Sea, also known as the South China Sea.
Defense Undersecretary Natalio Ecarma III, chairman of the DnD-Bids and Awards Committee, said P5.045 billion has been allocated for the acquisition of two anti-submarine helicopters with munitions, mission essential equipment and integrated logistics support, and P2.5 billion for the purchase of eight brand-new amphibious assault vehicles.
According to Ecarma, delivery of goods or contract duration for the anti-submarine helicopters is 730 calendar days, and 910 days for the amphibious assault vehicles upon opening of the letters of credit.
He said bidding was open to interested parties whether local or foreign, subject to the conditions for eligibility provided in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Ecarma added that two-stage open competitive bidding will be conducted using non-discretionary “pass/fail” criterion as specified in the IRR of RA 9184.
Earlier, PN Patrol Force commander Commodore Jose Renan Suarez said the Navy would also have two brand-new frigates under its frigate program that would be implemented in four years or from 2013 to 2017.
Suarez said a well-equipped and a more capable Philippine Navy would be in place and ready to defend the country’s vast shorelines by the end of the term of the Aquino administration.
RA 10349 extended the modernization law by another 15 years. It provided a P75-billion budget for the first five years of implementation. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL