Govt Arsenal blamed on military supply mess


THE Philippine Army on Tuesday said the Government Arsenal was to blame for non-delivery of military supplies that was earlier exposed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

On Monday, Santiago urged the Army to explain why, based on a Commission on Audit (COA) report, bulk of the training ammunition and equipment it was programmed to procure in 2014 had not been delivered.

Santiago, head of the Legislative Oversight Committee on the Visiting Forces Agreement, said she will file a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry into the non-delivery of the military supplies, a failure which she said might put Filipino soldiers at risk.

Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesman, said officials are ready to face the probe to clear things up.

“The Army is always open to any inquiry. We will answer that. We will explain to her what we did. We will tell her that we are following the procedure,” he added.

According to Hao, the Army ordered the ammunition from the Government Arsenal which he said encountered a problem, presumably in its procurement system.

“Yung Government Arsenal nagkaroon ng kunting problema sila, and kung ano yung problema nila sila ang dapat sumagot nun hindi kami. Sa pag-procure ng bala, pag small weapons dun kami dapat mag-order, so dun kami nag-order kasi yun ang procedure. We paid in advance para maka-order. In the end, hindi sila naka-deliver so we have to make adjustment on our own process as a result, nag-adjust kami ng distribution ng bala [The Government Arsenal has encountered a problem. Whatever it is, it should be the one to answer that, not us. In the procurement of ammunition for small weapons, we have to order from them and that was what we did because that was the procedure. We paid in advance so that we can place our order. In end, it failed to deliver so we have to make an adjustment on our process as a result, we adjusted the distribution of the ammunition],” he explained.

Hao said the Army also made an adjustment on the distribution of training ammunition, as a result of the failed delivery.

He added that the Army is following regulations, which explains why it filed its report to COA.

In a statement, Santiago asked, “How can we expect our troops to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity when they have no ammunition or equipment for training? Funds have been disbursed, why were supplies not delivered?”

She cited a recently released COA report, which showed that despite the P569.6 million the Army released to the Government Arsenal for ammunition, only P42.4 million worth of ammunition was delivered in 2014.

The senator said the same COA report showed that of the P231.9 million worth of combat clothing and equipment the Army requested through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management from 2004 to 2011, P786,000 remained undelivered in 2014.


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    We would like to address issues on the delivery of ammunition for the Philippine Army, which appeared in some news article recently.
    To set the record straight, the Government Arsenal received Php 569.57 million from the Philippine Army for the procurement of raw materials and ammunition components for the supply of 28.57 million rounds of assorted training ammunition. Out of these, 8.78 million rounds, amounting to Php 187.16 million were already delivered. The remaining 19.79 million rounds, amounting to Php 382.41 million shall be completely delivered by June 2016.
    Most of the undelivered ammunition are 5.56mm M855 bullets, which are due for pre-delivery inspection by November 2015. Moreover, the 7.62mm tracer cartridges are scheduled for pre-delivery inspection in September 2015.
    We would like to emphasize that all the other components for the ammunition, such as the casings, primers, powders and links are already with the Government Arsenal and ready for assembly. The remaining items needed for the final production are the bullets themselves.
    The deviation from the original timeframe was mainly due to the failed biddings at the DND Bids and Awards Committee (BAC). This resulted from the inability of the suppliers to comply with the delivery period of 180 days due to the high global demand for 5.56mm and 7.62mm bullets in 2014. Following RA #9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, the 5.56mm project went into the negotiated mode of procurement and the suppliers were eventually given 540 days to deliver.
    For the 5.56mm bullets, the first bidding was held in February-March 2014, and the second bidding was held in March-April 2014. The project went into negotiated in August-September 2014, and the Notice of Award was given on January 5, 2015.
    For the 7.62mm tracer cartridges, the first bidding was conducted in January-March 2014. The second bidding was held in August-October 2014. The Notice of Award was given to the winning proponent on March 27, 2015.
    WE WOULD LIKE TO ASSURE THE PUBLIC THAT THE PROCESS IS ONGOING, AND THAT THE AMMUNITION FOR OUR SOLDIERS WILL BE DELIVERED WITHIN THE SET PERIOD OF TIME. LIKEWISE, THE FUNDS INTENDED FOR THE PURCHASE OF SAID RAW MATERIALS ARE ALL ACCOUNTED FOR. The said issue only pertains to the PHILIPPINE ARMY, and does not affect the other branches of service. In fact, the Government Arsenal is still able to produce 3.5 million rounds of various calibers of ammunition per month for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Thank you!