Modernizing or Equalizing?

Defense Budget and Modernization in the Philippines, 2010 - 2020

Julio S. Amador III

Deryk Baladjay

Recommended citations:

APA: Amador, J. S. III and Baladjay, D. (13 Jan. 2020). "Modernizing or Equalizing? Defense Budget and Modernization in the Philippines, 2010-2020." ASOG Working Paper 21-001, available at SSRN: 

CMOS: Amador, Julio S. III and Deryk Baladjay. "Modernizing or Equalizing? Defense Budget and Modernization in the Philippines, 2010-2020." ASOG Working Paper 21-001 (13 Jan. 2020), available at SSRN:


The Republic Act (R.A.) 10349, otherwise known as the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program, is a recapturing of the AFP’s initial efforts at modernizing. Successor to R.A. 7898, the document reorients the priorities and the fiscal responsibilities of the Philippine government in ensuring the modernization of the armed forces into the 21st century. The concept of modernization 25 years onward has matured but it has barely deepened much to the detriment of AFP itself. Despite warnings of external security threats, the study has found nominal evidence hinting at the defense budget’s continuous prioritization of internal security threats. The study has likewise found nominal indicators that modernization funds set forth by R.A. 10349 are not utilized to ‘modernize’ the armed forces in the truest sense of the word. The study recommends addressing these issues of prioritization before any further attempt at military modernization.

Key Findings

  1. There is an inherent disjoint between emerging external security threats and the Philippine national government's defense budget and military modernization prioritization

  2. Nominal values from government data as well as insights from retired military respondents indicate a continuous emphasis on internal defensive and offensive capabilities

  3. Taken together, the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been, at best, equalizing all service branches instead of modernizing wherever it is needed

Document Details

Copyright: Ateneo School of Government

Availability: Free

Document Number: ASOG Working Paper 21-001

Pages: 33

Date of Post: January 13, 2021

Note from Authors

This document is under review. ​The authors welcome the review of this document for the improvement and sharpening of the logic and arguments of the paper. This webpage will be updated accordingly in the future.

About the Authors


Julio S. Amador III

Julio S. Amador III is CEO and Founder of the Amador Research Services. He was a former government official specializing in foreign policy and national security. He lectures in different professional schools and serves as resource person on international issues. He was a Fulbright scholar at Syracuse University where he earned his master’s degree in International Relations and a certificate in security studies. He was also a member of the inaugural cohort of the KAS Network of Young Asian Security Experts. 

Deryk Baladjay

Deryk Baladjay is Senior Associate and Research Coordinator at the Amador Research Services and part-time Research Assistant at the Ateneo School of Government. He is an MA degree holder in International Studies major in Asian Studies from the De La Salle University-Manila. His research and policy interests are in security, conflict and peace studies in and around East and Southeast Asia.