Claim: Former president Fidel Ramos “did not buy a single naval vessel” for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), according to Facebook page Team FUDA.
“Walang nabili ito kahit isang barko o eroplano para sa AFP modernization, pero andaming mga government properties ang ibinenta ng mokong na ito,” the caption read.
(This guy was not able to buy even one naval vessel or plane for AFP modernization, but he sold a lot of government properties.)
The Facebook page posted a photo of Ramos on December 15, 2019, and captioned it with a long list of other claims about his “blunders” during his presidency, which lasted from 1992 to 1998.
As of writing, the post has gotten over 2,800 shares on Facebook, 1,200 reactions, and 732 comments. It was spotted via social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.
The facts: There were 3 patrol vessels added to the Philippine Navy’s fleet during the Ramos administration. These were bought under the AFP Modernization Act signed by Ramos, and are now known as the Jacinto-class patrol vessels after upgrades.
A 2000 report from the Congressional Research Service said the 3 vessels were gunboats purchased from Hong Kong in 1997. The patrol vessels were former British Peacock-class vessels of the Royal Navy prior to acquisition by the Philippine Navy.
In a 2016 article, American international affairs magazine National Interest also said that Ramos oversaw the acquisition of these 3 vessels. The magazine called it the navy’s “sole major purchase” after the AFP Modernization Act was passed.
Ramos signed Republic Act No. 7898 in February 1995. Its purpose was to modernize the country’s armed forces, by reforming management operations and developing bases and facilities. Supposed to be implemented over 15 years, the program’s budget was P50 billion for the first 5 years.
However, the modernization program stalled following the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Its budget was slashed to half of its original allocation, according to a Kasarinlan journal article published in 1999.
A 2002 Newsbreak article said military officials in charge of the program also saw the law as “too stringent,” and they had a hard time moving forward because of “structural flaws in the law.”
The succeeding Estrada and Arroyo administrations also neglected the program until it expired in 2010. Former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin even said in 2012 that the program ended “with little progress,” due to delays in the release of funds and poor implementation.
In December 2012, RA No. 10349 or the revised AFP modernization law was signed by then-president Benigno Aquino III. The 15-year program had a budget of P75 billion for the first 5 years. (READ: LIST: The Philippine Navy’s upcoming vessels) – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com
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