Republic Act on self-reliant defense program proposed

Magdalo Partylist Representative Gary Alejano is batting to elevate Presidential Decree 415 into a Republic Act.

PD415 was signed by former President Ferdinand Marcos on March 19, 1974 to achieve a self-reliant defense posture for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under Self-Reliant Defense Program.

“I urge, all of you, my colleagues, to elevate PD415 to a Republic Act in order to give it the full weight and force of the statute approved by the chief executive,” Alejano said during a privilege speech delivered at the House of Representatives on February 5.

Congressman Alejano said AFP’s foremost thrust in establishing a credible self-reliant defense posture program is to “produce locally, when feasible, material for our defense forces through partnership between the military and civilian establishments, while importing those that cannot be locally produced with the ultimate objective of acquiring the technology for the production of these material. Paramount to this objective is the primordial role of the military and government agencies of providing technical and financial assistance to civilian defense manufacturers.”

Alejano is also pushing for the establishment of Defense Research and Development Agency (DRDA) under the Department of National Defense (DND) which will possess corporate powers to enable it to venture into partnerships with private and more importantly, local manufacturers.

The proposed DRDA will be DND’s procurement arm. “We must ensure that the procurement of our defense materiel is at par with the highest international standard and is ultimately based on technical expertise of such matters,” he said.