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.