Tuesday, May 10, 2005

NR0509: AFP mutiny over P19M pavement project

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release May 9, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Cellphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news

Is the AFP using gold and silver to pave its sidewalks? Mutiny from the AFP's rank and file and younger officers over pavement scandal would not be surprising - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that there was no defending or justifying the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) spending of P19 million for the sidewalks of Camp Aguinaldo. He said that AFP Chief of Staff and AFP deputy chief of staff Edilberto Adan's attempts to justify the multi-million repairs were outrageous.

"What are they using to pave the sidewalks - gold and silver?!," Beltran said. "P19 million is a lot of money, and it's no great mental struggle to think of a hundred more necessary things to use this money on than to fix pavements or sidewalks. It's highly doubtful that gravel, concrete and cement would cost up to P19 million, even throwing in the labor costs. "

He expressed full support for calls that Congress investigate the sidewalk scam and question t he AFP leadership who approved the project. He also challenged Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to put her foot down and stop the implementation of the project. "What - plain concrete not good enough for the well-heeled officials of the AFP that they have to use clay and decorative paving blocks? Pres. Arroyo's call for austerity and straightened budgetary priorities have clearly not penetrated the ears much less the consciousness of the likes of AFP chief of staff Abu," he said.

"The rank and file of the AFP should be the first to be outraged over this shocking, unnecessary extravagance. Filipino soldiers have been reduced to being low-salaried mercenaries, with their benefits severely slashed and their morale perpetually sinking to the lowest depths because of the corruption in the highest offices of the AFP. Their lowly demands for higher quality shoes, uniforms and better-maintained barracks have not been responded to, but now they're hearing that the AFP is squandering millions for a sidewalk repairs."

The veteran labor leader said that he would not be surprised if there will be a reprisal of the Oakwood Mutiny led by the more idealistic, younger officers of the AFP. He said that for all the propaganda blitz and projection that the AFP has cleaned up its act and is in full fighting form as defenders of the country's national security, the very heart of the AFP was festering in corruption.
He said that it was quite possible that top ranking officials of the AFP are in connivance with construction firms and hardware suppliers, and together they've bloated the budget for this sidewalk project.

"The rank and file soldiers of the AFP and the lower-ranking officers should not stand idly by while the AFP top brass continues to weave lies regarding this multi-million sidewalk scam. This is no different from the scandal that is the Diosdado Macapagal Highway which also ate up millions of taxpayers' money," he said. #


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