Saturday, August 8, 2015

Kevlar Helmet: The Philipine Experience

To my recollection, the "love affair" of the Filipino People with the Kevlar Helmet started about 17 years ago.

In 1998, the AFP approved the purchase of 500 Kevlar Helmets by the Philippine Marines.  Sounds like a simple transaction right?  Wrong!

What happened next was the stuff you would only expect to find in a corporate fraud manual.

The helmets were overpriced.  Most suppliers were fictitious.  Most of the helmets were never even delivered.  And those that were delivered, were found to be of sub-standard quality.  In short, not fit for combat.

Eventually, some personalities from both the government and the private sector were found guilty of shenanigans by the courts.  But the biggest fish of all managed to get away, only to haunt the Republic with bigger shenanigans down the road.

By now, hers is already a household name in the Philippines: Janet Lim-Napoles

All this tragic circus was just caused by the measly purchase of 500 helmets.

I shudder to think what 81,000 helmets could possibly bring.

What the Shore-Based Missiles mean for the Filipino People

Since the Panatag Shoal stand-off in the middle of 2012, we have been suffering national humiliation after national humiliation in the hands of China in the West Philippine Sea.

The official line given for the resulting inaction by the National Government is our lack of military capability.

The purchase of Shore-Based Missiles from Israel was supposed to be the first major step to address that.

But now, this purchase is being shelved in favor of 81,000 helmets, among other trivial purchases that the DND and AFP top brass have in mind.

I will not even dignify the helmet purchase decision with any analysis.  It will just be like rubbing salt to a national wound.

The official excuse being floated is that the missile purchase will just be "postponed", and not canceled.  Which means that it will already be the responsibility of the next administration.  So between now and May 2016, the DND and the AFP will still have a convenient excuse not to do something about the national humiliation that China is dishing-out to us in the West Philippine Sea.  And yet, they still get to spend P6.1 Billion of the AFP Modernization Budget.  It is definitely a win-win situation for them.

But for the Filipino People, the postponement of the missile purchase is just another nail to our coffin of national humiliation.

The only difference is, this time around, the nail is being driven by Filipino hands.  From the highest levels of our own National Government.