Purchase of P5.4-B helicopters a ‘waste of money’


The P5.4-billion anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter purchased by the Department of National Defense (DND) is a big waste of money.

That’s how Rep. Rodito Albano of Isabela, a member of the Commission on Appointments, sees it. He noted that the purchase is extravagant, if not frivolous, considering that the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard do not even have an adequate fleet of patrol boats to cover the entire Philippine archipelago.

“This shows the lack of priority and prudence in the way that the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines [AFP] have put together their modernization plan. It is ridiculous to buy two high-tech anti-submarine attack helicopters when the country does not even have effective and adequate radar and sonar systems that could warn defense forces of any incursions into Philippine airspace and sea lanes,” Albano, a lawyer, pointed out.

“How will these anti-submarine attack helicopters be dispatched if they don’t have the capability at all to know what’s illegally lurking below our sea lanes?” he added.

The DND has announced that the acquisition of the ASW will be completed within the year as part of the AFP Modernization Program.

But Albano is not convinced, saying that the P5.4 billion should have been spent in putting up new power plants or upgrading the existing ones to address the recurring power crisis in Mindanao.

If not, he said the amount should be used to enhance the capability of the military’s engineering brigades that is crucial in time of disasters or calamities as recently shown by the devastation brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

“We could spend the P5.4 billion meant for two anti-sub attack helicopters better by purchasing additional Hercules type, wide-bodied, heavy lift military planes for disaster relief operations,” Albano concluded.


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