Military proposes defense procurement act to expedite modernization

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff General Gilbert Gapay has raised the proposed defense procurement act which seeks to expedite the modernization of military.

General Gapay raised the proposal during his confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments September 2.

Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. asked General Gapay regarding his plan amid 2019 Commission on Audit report citing inefficiencies in the implementation of the AFP modernization program specifically on projects that should have been completed in 2018 and 2019.

“The defense acquisition system is also being governed by Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Act), so still we follow the most common procurement process and we follow the bidding process Mr. Chair, your honor. Sometimes we also experience failure of bidding that is why this causes so much delay. Per experience from the approval by the defense department to delivery of actual equipment it would take about 2 years Mr. Chair, your honor following the 9184 process,”

“That is why we have filed in Congress a defense procurement act so that these modernization projects or acquisition of modern equipment would follow a different process,” the AFP chief said.

He added that publishing defense acquisitions in PhilGEPS will burn out the country’s defense capability.

“That is why we would want a separate defense procurement act so that it would be faster than 9184, or efficient. So that in the process we will not lose so much money and resources due to failure of biddings and other problems in the procurement pipeline,” General Gapay said.

“But nonetheless we are addressing these delays Mr. Chair, your honor. They are again on track in the bidding process, most of the projects are in different stages of the bidding process, some are already for awarding, some are for opening of bids,” he noted

He also noted that COVID-19 adversely affected defense procurement projects particularly in pre-delivery inspection and post-qualification.

“So all of these put together, really causes delay in the delivery of the much needed capabilities we need in the Armed Forces, that is why Mr. Chair, your honor we have proposed separate defense procurement act for the defense department,” Gapay added.