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Edu favors "outsourcing" of AFP procurement to civil servants

By CESAR CORTES
April 8, 2010

MANILA  –  Administration vice presidential candidate Edu Manzano has endorsed the proposal of former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Narciso Abaya (ret.) to "outsource" the military's accounting, disbursement and purchasing processes to non-uniformed career civil servants.

"This will go a long way in curbing the misuse of military funds that is depriving our soldiers in the field the full support that they need," said Manzano, who once served in the US Air Force as a systems analyst.

"It is totally unacceptable that our troops in the front have to endure lack of weapons, basic protection gear and supplies, partly on account of the misappropriation of military funds," added Manzano, former national president of the Vice-Mayors' League.

Manzano made the statement not long after the Millennium Challenge Corp. decided to withhold the release of $500 million or around P2.35 billion in grants to the Philippines for the country's anti-corruption reforms.

The MCC said it would defer the release of the funds until after the country elects a new president.

Ombudsman records show that two former comptrollers and a former budget officer of the Armed Forces have been separately accused of amassing a combined P479 million in ill-gotten wealth.

Erstwhile officials at the military's Retirement and Separation Benefit System have also been accused of corruption. They have been blamed for bankrupting the pension fund.

Abaya earlier proposed the enlistment of non-uniformed career government personnel to look after military funds.

In the military service, graft and corruption take its toll on the lives of soldiers and on the accomplishments of the mission, according to Abaya.

Military officers that previously rebelled against the government attributed the increasing disillusionment of soldiers to unchecked official corruption.