Villar vows to implement AFP, PNP modernization
By Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. has vowed to implement the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to effectively address security issues once elected.
“The effective and efficient implementation of a national security program will rely on the AFP modernization. The plans for modernization is already due for implementation,” he said.
Villar, however, said the security situation in Mindanao would require a holistic approach.
Villar said he would continue a policy of negotiation with the rebel groups while committing to deliver badly needed basic services in the region.
Villar stressed the peace process in Mindanao must allow the participation of major peace stakeholders that would include religious groups, civil society, and the rebels.
Villar also promised to implement a sustainable economic development program in the region.
NP senatorial candidate Ramon “Mon-Mon” Mitra Jr., for his part, condemned the attacks in Basilan last Tuesday that left 15 people dead.
Mitra, a former Marine officer, said the next administration should prioritize the welfare of soldiers and policemen, particularly those deployed in rebel-infested areas.
“I have seen soldiers, my men, my friends in the service, die in battle. I have seen the horrors of war and news like this where Marines and policemen have died never fails to make me angry and frustrated,” he said.
Mitra pointed out how ill-equipped the soldiers and policemen are in battling local terrorists and insurgents.
Mitra also batted for the increase in salary and benefits of the soldiers and policemen.
Villar agreed the AFP modernization should include the benefits for soldiers.
“Our soldiers really deserve something better from the government. We need to do something for them,” he said.
Villar added the PNP would also need to upgrade its equipment to make it more responsive and effective against crime.
He said there would be no need to impose new taxes to attain the goal of modernization.
Villar said the introduction of new taxes would only be done as a last resort.
“There are measures that need to be drawn up first before we even talk about slapping new taxes. All of these things need to be studied to find out where we can improve and which policies will need to be streamlined and reformed,” he said.
While imposing new taxes would certainly boost government revenues, Villar said efforts must first be made to improve tax collection.
“The fiscal sector is deteriorating and is confronted by dilemmas rather than opportunities. We have a ballooning budget deficit, which can be traced to poor revenue collections,” he explained.
Villar agreed on the need to pass the pending tax measures in Congress to help provide more sources of revenue for the government instead of relying too heavily on taxing the consumers.
Villar vowed he would implement a massive revenue collection improvement program to fuel an infrastructure investment binge. – With Marvin Sy, Eva Visperas