Modernizing or equalizing? Defence budget and military modernization in the Philippines, 2010 – 2020

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The Republic Act (R.A.) 10349, otherwise known as the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program, is a recapturing of the AFP’s initial efforts at modernizing. Successor to R.A. 7898, the document reorients the priorities and the fiscal responsibilities of the Philippine government in ensuring the modernization of the armed forces into the twenty-first century. The concept of modernization 25 years onward has matured but it has barely deepened in implementation much to the detriment of AFP itself. Despite warnings of external security threats, the study has found nominal evidence hinting at the defence budget’s continuous prioritization of internal security threats. The study has likewise found that modernization funds set forth by R.A. 10349 are not utilized to “modernize” the armed forces in the truest sense of the word. The study recommends addressing this issue of prioritization before any further attempt at military modernization.