Defense department asks for higher budget
The Department of National Defense (DND) emphasized the need to increase the defense budget in the Philippines amid a reported hike in China's defense spending.
“In other countries, defense spending is among their topmost priorities. In the Philippines, however, the defense budget remains at less than one percent (.9 percent ) of our gross domestic product (GDP),” Dir. Arsenio Andolong, DND Public Affairs Service chief said Tuesday.
“Needless to say, this is not enough to fund defense infrastructures and facilities. This is the reason why we are urging our legislators to increase our defense budget in order to support the AFP's modernization and boost our defense capability,” he added.
Andolong also noted that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is requesting to increase the defense budget to 1.5 percent of GDP.
“(The) secretary of National Defense is asking for an increase...because the average budget of our ASEAN neighbors is 1.5 percent of their gross domestic product. So it’s far from us which is .9,” he said.
“That is what the SND ( Secretary of National Defense) is asking at least 1.5 percent,” he added.
China revealed that its defense budget will increase by $175 billion for this year, a news report said.
Andolong noted that “defense spending is a legitimate undertaking of any sovereign country.”
“It is the right of all nations to strengthen their national defense capabilities within the bounds of international law,” he said.
“The department does not wish to speculate on how the Chinese government will utilize their budget,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS