Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said he sees the potential role of the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC) in the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), saying the country can pour funds into the firm so it can develop more innovations on aircraft development and maintenance.
Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, made the statement at the hearing on Senate bills seeking the extension of the corporate life of the PADC for another 50 years.
“We’re spending hundreds of billions sa modernization ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and we’re asking if South Korea or Australia or US allies can transfer their technology to us. E baka nandyan lang (sa PADC),” he said.
At the same time, Cayetano said the committee will find out how more funds can be put into the corporation for at least the next five years.
“It is not enough that we have you, but we have to equip you. Para nga ‘yung objectives niyo, gulatin niyo na lang kami na na-achieve niyo ang ibang goals na iniisip ng iba na ibang lifetime,” he said.
“Ako personally I’d like you to have more funds so maybe I’ll direct our committee that when we’re making the committee report, we’ll have a small technical working group with DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and find out how we can put some funds for the next five years dyan,” he said.
Cayetano added the proposal extending the aerospace firm’s corporate life is approved “in principle.”
“We approved the proposal for the extension (of PADC) in principle, subject lang to the comments of other agencies and to the move of the committee to find more funding for you,” he said.
PADC was initially established in 1973 by President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. with the goal of achieving self-reliance, national security, and technology transfer in the aerospace and aviation industry.
The current corporate life of PADC is set to expire on September 5, 2023, but several Senate bills are seeking its extension for another 50 years.
In its 50 years of existence, PADC said it has achieved accomplishments in the development of aircraft prototypes and the establishment of a maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility for aircraft engines used by the Philippine Air Force.
Giving PADC acting president and chief operating officer Raymond Mitra an “assignment,” Cayetano said the committee wants to see what the firm can come up with.
“If we give you fifty or a hundred million a year for the next five years, give us a hint of what we will get,” he said.
He also said PADC can tap into the large pool of FIlipino scientists who can help develop the country instead of working overseas.
“If you have to hire the right people. There are a lot of Filipino scientists na nag-aabroad because walang chance. Pero kung nandyan kayo at may pang-hire kayo sa kanila, baka naman y’ung imbensyon na y’un imbes na mapunta sa malalaking bansa e sa Pilipinas na lang,” he said.