THE HOUSE of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading a bill that seeks to bolster the country’s defense program with preference over locally manufactured equipment.

“This bill recognizes the need to revitalize and strengthen the national defense industry,” House national defense panel chairman and Iloilo Rep. Raul C. Tupas said in his sponsorship speech House Bill No. 9710.

The measure is expected to strengthen local markets and lessen reliance on foreign resources, Mr. Tupas added.

The proposed Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program also seeks to utilize the country’s natural resources for its defense needs, and will only import when the technology is unavailable locally.

Under the proposed measure, relevant funding and technical assistance will be provided to the private sector in order to allocate manpower and resources for defense research.

The bill mandates that country enterprises engaging in the manufacture, servicing and operation of military equipment for the government may be registered under the Board of Investments (BOI) and will be granted fiscal incentives.

The Senate passed a similar measure on third and final reading on Monday. – Beatriz Marie D. Cruz