The Navy's Resources

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - As a unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Navy (PN) operates on the basis of budgetary allocations that the national government provides and releases to it. This amount has always been subject to severe constraints: the Navy is always called upon to do so much on the basis of so little.There is little the Navy can do about the budgetary allocations the General Appropriations Act provides for the AFP in general and for the PN in particular.Thus, under the priority of "balanced financial programs," one of two priorities listed under the resources perspective, the PN puts forward this initiative, to strengthen PN fiscal administration. The first measure of success under this initiative is keep at 100% the rate of obligation, i.e., ensure that the entire budgeted amount and released to the PN is duly and properly obligated and deployed. The other measure of success is to keep at zero Commission on Audit (COA) exceptions: the Navy plays by CoA rules and regulations, and intends to stay well within their ambit.There is a limit, however, to what can be done under such stringent fiscal straits. Despite the inventiveness and creativity of PN personnel, inevitably budgetary tightness has long-term consequences. "Having to make do with so little" imposes severe constraints on the modernization of the fleet and the needed capital and other requirements of a modern Navy serving such a huge maritime area that the Philippines is blessed with. The President himself in his first State-of-the-Nation Address in July, 2010, specifically referred to the "MacArthur vintage" of some of our Navy ships, which miraculously are being made to run and operate in large part due to the maintenance expertise of PN personnel.It is against this background that the second priority under this perspective should be understood. …