House ratifies bicam report on AFP-RMP

THE House of Representatives ratified before adjournment the bicameral conference committee report on House Bill 6410, which extends the implementation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Act for another 15 years.

The Senate also ratified last Wednesday the reconciled version, Senate Bill 3164, establishing the revised AFP Modernization Program.

The House panel in the bicameral conference committee was headed by Rep. Rodolfo Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), Chairman of the House Committee on National Defense, while the Senate panel was chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Chairman of the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security, and Accounts.

The AFP revised modernization program shall develop and transform the AFP into a multi-mission oriented force capable of effectively addressing internal and external security threats.

Under the proposed law, which amends Republic act 7898, otherwise known as the AFP Modernization Act, the revised AFP Modernization Program shall be based on an amount of at least P75 Billion for the first five years subject to the capacity of the DND to utilize and implement the program in accordance with the Defense System of Management (DSOM).

The Revised AFP Modernization Program Planning and Procurement shall be conducted in accordance with the DSOM which is a strategy-driven, capability-based multi-year planning and execution process.

The measure exempts certain major defense purchases, such as aircraft, vessels, tanks, armored vehicles, communications equipment and high powered firearms, from the requirement of public bidding.

The measure also exempts from value-added tax and customs duties, the sale and importation of weapons, equipment and ammunition to the AFP which are directly and exclusively used for its projects,
undertakings, activities and programs.

A Congressional Oversight Committee, composed of six members from the Senate and six members from the House with the Chairpersons of the Committees on National Defense and Security of both houses as joint chairpersons.

As the need arises, the Congressional Oversight Committee shall conduct a Sunset Review, a systematic evaluation of the accomplishment and impact of the measure, as well as the performance and organizational structure of the implementing agencies for purposes of determining remedial legislation.

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