Monday, August 31, 2015

Miriam to pry into undelivered army supplies, equipment

From InterAksyon (Aug 31): Miriam to pry into undelivered army supplies, equipment

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Senate PRIB file photograph

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is set to file a resolution urging the proper Senate committee to investigate why hundreds of millions of pesos worth of military supplies and equipment still have to be delivered to the Philippine Army (PA).

According to Santiago, the Commission on Audit (COA) has found that the bulk of the "Combat Clothing and Individual Equipment (CCIE)" items requested for procurement from the Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) from 2004-2011 totaling P231,944,683.19 in the Headquarters, Philippine Army and common use supplies in 9th Infantry Division totaling P786,323.35 remained undelivered as of year-end.

Santiago noted, "the state auditors claimed that due to these failures, the Philippine Army was deprived of the timely use of the procured items."

The senator vowed to file a resolution calling for a Senate probe into the non-delivery of the military supplies, a failure, which, she said, "might put Filipino soldiers at risk."

"How can we expect our troops to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity when they lack ammunition or equipment for training? Funds have been disbursed, why were the supplies not delivered?" Santiago asked.

She cited a recently released COA report, which showed that despite the P569.6 million the Army released to the Government Arsenal for ammunitions, only P42.4 million worth of ammunitions were delivered in 2014.

"The Philippines is threatened by a neighbor encroaching on its territory. We cannot afford to postpone — not even for a day — the delivery of much-needed ammunition and equipment,” Santiago declared.

For its part, the Philippine Army blamed the government arsenal office for the situation, as Army spokesman Col. Benjie Hao reasoned that, since the service placed the order two years ago, the government arsenal should have complied and filled up the order long before Senator Santiago noticed it.

Hao indicated that the Army had even paid in advance for it.

"If the arsenal encountered problems along the way, then we should not be the ones to elaborate," Hao said. "We are open, we can always tell the good Senator about these things."

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