By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri wants to revive the government’s Self-Reliant Defense Posture (SRDP) program to develop the national defense industry and reduce dependence on foreign nations for the country’s military needs.
Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 2113, which seeks the development of the national defense industry by revitalizing the SRDP program and incentivizing enterprises that would engage in manufacturing, servicing or operating materials for the country’s defense requirements.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in 2017, also called for the revival of the SRDP program amid threats on the country’s national security such as terrorism and territorial disputes
The SRDP program aims to develop a local defense industry to address and provide for the material needs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
It was first implemented in 1974 through former President Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree No. 415, as the government’s then response to the Muslim secessionist movement in Mindanao.
In pushing for the approval of the measure, Zubiri said that with the bill, “We hope to limit Philippine dependence on allies for the provision of the defense requirements and develop the defense capability of the country.”
He also aims to “generate local employment opportunities and enhance technology transfer to the Philippines.”
Under SB 2113, foreign and local enterprises that would engage in the defense industry may avail of the grants and incentives provided under Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investments Code.
Government financial institutions shall be “highly encouraged” to support the industry to hasten its development.
Aside from financial incentives, the registered enterprises shall also be exempt from customs duties and national internal revenue taxes imposed on the importation of raw materials and critical components for the production of the materials.
The bill also rationalizes the acquisition and procurement of materials, facilities, and utilities necessary for national defense.
It also creates the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense Technology Research and Industry Development under the Department of National Defense (DND).
The office shall be in charge of the management of a databank for analysis; research and development of technology transfer; promotion of defense industry; establishing private-public partnerships, and setting up foreign and domestic collaborations.
The Undersecretary shall also advise and recommend policies and regulations to the DND Secretary on all matters pertaining to the national defense industry and its development.