MANILA – The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is looking for funding sources to raise funds for the country’s soldiers, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after President Rodrigo Duterte, in his visit to Zamboanga City to honor the casualties in the military plane crash in Patikul, Sulu, reiterated the government’s plan to sell or lease part of Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City to raise funds for soldiers’ benefits.
He said the government has yet to come up with a timeline for its plan to lease part of Fort Bonifacio, but noted that the BCDA is working on finding other fund sources.
“Wala pa namang timeline pero (There is no timeline yet but) we have an agency headed by Secretary Vince Dizon, BCDA, and the mandate precisely is to make full utilization of all our military assets including the camps and bases para po ma-improve din ang kapakanan ng ating mga sundalo (to improve the capabilities of our soldiers),” Roque said in a press briefing in Pampanga.
The BCDA engages in public-private partnerships to push forward public infrastructure such as tollways, airports, seaports, and also major real estate development.
BCDA president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vince Dizon, who was also present in the press briefing, said the Department of Finance is studying solutions to raise funds for both soldiers and police.
“May working group po si [Finance] Secretary [Carlos] Dominguez to study the long-term solution to the pension issue, not just of the Armed Forces, but also of the police. And I think maghintay tayo dun sa magiging recommendations ng Department of Finance tungkol dito (let us just wait for the recommendations of the Department of Finance),” he said.
Duterte, in several speeches, urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to lease out its remaining lands in Fort Bonifacio to raise more funds for its modernization program.
Fort Bonifacio is the location of the Philippine Army headquarters, the Philippine Marines headquarters, and the Philippine Navy’s Bonifacio Naval Station.
He said it could also provide better life insurance, housing, health, and emergency loans for the country’s soldiers.
During his visit to the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) gymnasium in Zamboanga City to honor casualties in the military plane crash, Duterte assured families of soldiers killed and injured that their sacrifices will not go in vain.
“The life of a soldier is always valuable, whether in the fields of fighting or events such as this. They died for our country and for that I am very grateful to those who died and those who helped,” he said in his speech.
Meanwhile, Roque said the Palace is waiting for the results of the investigation into the Philippine Air Force C-130 plane crash in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday and the S-70i Black Hawk Utility helicopter crash in Capas, Tarlac during a night flight training some two weeks ago. (PNA)