The leadership of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said the proposed Congressional amendments to Republic Act (RA) No. 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992 will benefit the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by beefing up the state coffers for its continued contribution to its modernization program and support for the military’s pension fund.
BCDA, led by its Chairman Delfin N. Lorenzana and President and Chief Executive Officer (PCEO) Engr. Joshua M. Bingcang, sought support from about 100 officers and members of the AFP General Headquarters Units, Major Services, and Unified Commands, led by its AFP Deputy Chief of Staff LtGen. Charlton Sean M. Gaerlan PN (M), in a recent forum organized by BCDA on its current efforts to contribute to the AFP Modernization and on its replication projects for the military.
“The bill amending RA 7227 will help us better perform our mandate of helping strengthen the AFP. By further unlocking the potential of our economic zones, we would be able to continue contributing to the AFP Modernization Program and pursue replication projects for the military, fortify our collaboration with the AFP, as well as support the military pension fund, which is a priority of President Bongbong Marcos'' BCDA PCEO Engr. Bingcang said during the 27th AFP Forum on BCDA’s role in the AFP Modernization Program on September 15.
“On behalf of more than 150,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and the auxiliary forces, our sincere gratitude to the management of the BCDA… and to the rest of the BCDA. Your contributions have been monumental in making the AFP stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped for the challenges of the future...I close with an affirmation to all that the AFP remains staunchly committed to deepening our partnership,” AFP Deputy Chief of Staff LtGen. Gaerlan PN (M) read a message from AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr PA.
Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro shared last month the government's proposal to funnel the share in BCDA's earnings of the AFP to serve military retiree pensions.
Under the proposed bill, the BCDA’s corporate term will be extended for another 50 years from its current remaining corporate life of 19 years, allowing BCDA to continue with its mandate of helping strengthen the AFP by supporting its modernization efforts.
The bill will also increase the authorized capital of the BCDA to Php 400 billion from Php 100 billion, as well as convert five percent of BCDA’s economic zones to freehold status from leasehold. BCDA estimates that this provision will free up 1,856 hectares of land, which can potentially generate at least Php 400 billion in revenues, a portion of which may be earmarked for the military pension fund, a priority of President Marcos, Jr.
These amendments are part of House Bill No. 8505, a consolidated substitute measure, which was passed on third reading on August 22. A counterpart bill in the Senate is currently being prepared for filing.
"The great sacrifices of our troops to ensure peace across the nation and safety of our fellowmen deserve the support it needs. As BCDA moves on to the next chapter, we will ensure that our commitments to the AFP are delivered on time and aligned according to the agreed timeline by all parties involved and that the right amount of remittances are declared," BCDA Chairman Lorenzana said.
As a testament to its mandate, 43 percent or Php 59.71 billion of BCDA’s gross disposition proceeds from May 1993 to July 2023 were allocated for the AFP for its modernization program, giving a boost to military forces who respond to crises and defend the country against all threats.
Other than contributions to the AFP Modernization Program, the BCDA also provides support by modernizing military facilities as part of its replication program. In 2022, the BCDA turned over modern facilities to the Army Support Command of the Philippine Army, in a bid to relocate the unit’s headquarters in Camp Servillano Aquino in Tarlac. BCDA is also set to complete this 2023 the construction of the P283.4-million Special Services Center and Division Administrative Command Center facility for the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.