A comparison of AFP Modernization bills in Congress

Wednesday , 23, November 2011 Leave a comment

This comparison focuses on the following bills that have been filed in the Philippine Senate.  Cong. Rodolfo Biazon’s modernization bill is not available in either the Senate or House bills databases. For this reason, his bill has been excluded from the comparison.

To discuss this comparison, see the following Timawa.net discussion: http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=29660.0

Bill Number Author Status
2903 Juan Ponce Enrile [ FIRST REGULAR SESSION, 14TH CONGRESS ][ 2008 ]2/26/2008   –   Introduced by Senator JUAN PONCE ENRILE;2/27/2008   –   Read on First Reading and Referred to the Committee(s) on NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY; WAYS AND MEANS; and FINANCE;
351 Antonio Trillanes [ FIRST REGULAR SESSION, 15TH CONGRESS ][ 2010 ]7/6/2010   –   Introduced by Senator ANTONIO “SONNY” F. TRILLANES;8/4/2010   –   Read on First Reading and Referred to the Committee on NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY;[ 2011 ]2/15/2011   –   Conducted JOINT COMMITTEE MEETINGS/HEARINGS;3/16/2011   –   Conducted TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP;
2705 Ralph Recto [ FIRST REGULAR SESSION, 15TH CONGRESS ][ 2011 ]2/16/2011   –   Introduced by Senator RALPH G. RECTO;2/21/2011   –   Read on First Reading and Referred to the Committee on NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY;[ 2011 ]3/16/2011   –   Conducted TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP;
2938 Panfilo Lacson [ SECOND REGULAR SESSION, 15TH CONGRESS ][ 2011 ]8/16/2011   –   Introduced by Senator PANFILO M. LACSON;8/17/2011   –   Read on First Reading and Referred to the Committee(s) on NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY and WAYS AND MEANS;

What they amended

The following table shows the distribution of amendments that each bill sought to introduce. SB 351 (Trillanes) and SB 2705 (Recto) focused on very specific aspects of the Modernization Law, and were not thorough reviews of the document, presumably relying on the work already performed in the older SB 2093.

SB 2093 (Enrile) SB 351 (Trillanes) SB 2705 (Recto) SB 2938 (Lacson)
Sec. 1 – Short title X
Sec. 2 – Declaration of Policy
Sec. 3 – Objectives of the AFP Modernization Program
Sec. 4 – Components of the AFP Modernization Program x x
Sec. 5 – Development of AFP Capabilities
Sec. 6 – Period of Implementation X x
Sec. 7 – Submission of the AFP Modernization Program x
Sec. 8 – Appropriations for the AFP Modernization Program x
Sec. 9 – Multi-year Contracts and Other Contractual Arrangements
Sec. 10 – Self Reliant Defense Posture Program x x
Sec. 11 – AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund x x
Sec. 12 – Modernization of the Government Arsenal x
Sec. 13 – Austerity and Use of Savings
Sec. 14 – AFP Procurement System x x
Sec. 15 – Guidance for the President x
Sec. 16 – Annual Reports x
Sec. 17 – Separability Clause
Sec. 18 – Repealing Clause
Sec. 19 – Effectivity Clause
Number of new sections introduced in addition to amendments of existing sections 2 0 1 1


Section 6 of the law indicates that the law would be implemented over a period of 15 years. This section, however, is silent with regards to when that period begins. The Effectivity clause in Sec 19, stipulates that the law is effective 15 days after publication in at least two national newspapers . . . whose dates are, for obvious reasons, are not contained in the document itself. The law itself was approved in February 23, 1995.

SB 2093 (Enrile): Prescribes an initial 5-year modernization plan that will be then be reviewed thereafter. The exploratory note states that the bill seeks to eliminate deadlines, thus allowing the AFP to pursue continual modernization. However the bill does not amend Sec. 6 which prescribes a 15-year time table.

SB 351 (Trillanes): This bill is silent on timetables, and does even take up the matter of the expiration of the law

SB 2705 (Recto): Moves the deadline for the modernization law to December 31, 2021

SB 2938: Prescribes a 15-year modernization plan explicitly starting from when the new law is enacted

Government Arsenal

Only Enrile and Lacson discuss the Government Arsenal. Both seek to make the GA the principal source of ammunition for all uniformed government agencies, beyond the AFP and PNP, and to convert the GA’s facilities into an “economic zone”, thus granting it special regulatory privileges. Enrile goes further by seeking to transform the Government Arsenal into a lead agency for promoting the development of a domestic defense industry.

Sourcing of equipment

RA 7898 was very specific about the kind of equipment that the AFP could acquire from a sourcing standpoint. Sec. 4, sub-par B, as it currently stands, requires that any equipment that the AFP acquires be used by the armed forces of the country of origin, or by the armed forces of at least two other countries.

This was the sole amendment in Trillanes’ bill, which sought to reduce the number of countries using the equipment to just one. Enrile’s amendment exempted locally produced equipment from this provision.


Enrile and Lacson sought to exempt modernization projects from taxes and other government fees

Equipment selection

The Lacson bill institutionalizes the use of the Defense System of Management (DSOM) in equipment selection. DSOM is an acquisition management process described in Memorandum Order 17, series 2011 as:

The Defense System of Management (DSOM), built upon the concept of a strategy-driven, capability-based, multi-year planning process, inclusive of its four mutually supporting components: the Defense Strategic Planning System (DSPS), the Defense Capability Assessment and Planning System (DCAPS), the Defense Acquisition System (DAS) and the Defense Resource Management System (DRMS) incorporating two sub-systems the Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution System (PPBES) and the Financial Management System (FMS).


All funding intended for the AFP modernization program is pooled into the AFP Modernization Trust Fund (AFPMTF). As the law currently stands, this includes the amount allocated by the General Appropriations Act, government arsenal profits, income from the sale of uneconomical assets, and the sale of military camps.

Both the Enrile and Lacson bills sought expand the sources of funding for the AFPMTF. Both bills explicitly authorized the President to allocate whatever supplemental funding he/she saw fit. They also added the proceeds of joint ventures agreements to the list of fund sources.

Enrile added a provision that ensured that amounts in the fund that were not consumed during the fiscal year could be carried over to the next. He also required that the annual appropriation specifically for modernization, should not be less than 0.3% of the last officially reported GNP.

Lacson also opened the fund to accepting both local and foreign donations, and stipulated a 35% share of national government’s income derived from petroleum production (e.g., Malampaya, etc.). He also broadened use of the fund by allowing the AFP to charge expenses related to pre and post qualification activities. Hitherto, the AFP had to source these activities from its own operations budget and had been the a source of delays.

DND procurement system

The Government Procurement Reform Act (RA 9184), which currently governs all government procurement activities went into effect eight years after the Modernization Law. The complexities of the law’s checks and balances have been blamed for much of the delays in the implementation of the modernization program. Among the issues is the primacy of bidding as a means of acquisition. Both the DND and Commission on Audit have bewailed the AFP’s lack of procurement expertise, which have reportedly contributed to the glacial pace of the modernization program.

Both the Enrile and Lacson bills seek to exempt the DND from the requirements of RA 9184 and allow it to develop its own procurement system. The Lacson bill, however, the free the AFP of the need to conduct public bidding for its requirements, but leverages performance sureties stipulated in Sec 39 of RA 9184.

Focus on internal security

Whereas the original modernization law was predicated on extraction of the AFP from Internal Security Operations (ISO), and shifting it towards an external defense posture, the Enrile and Lacson bills explicitly bring responsibility for Internal Security Operations back into the AFP’s area of responsibility. Lacson even goes so far as to specifying that the first five years of the modernization program be focused on developing internal defense capabilities.

Given that the ISO-focused phase of the AFP Capability Upgrade Program (CUP) had already been completed, and the AFP has entered the second phase which is design to begin the transition to external defense, this turning-back-the-clock position is perplexing.