MANILA -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday denied allegations made by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claiming that a so-called "Davao Group" is meddling with the ongoing military modernization program.

"Hindi totoo yan (That's not true)," Lorenzana told reporters.

Trillanes claimed that the "Davao Group" has been demanding and telling the Armed Forces of the Philippines what equipment to buy and procure for its modernization program.

Earlier, the DND chief administered the oath-taking ceremonies for 400 soldiers involved in the planning, bidding, and procurement transactions on the AFP Modernization Program (AFPMP) during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at the General Headquarters, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“I will act with honesty and propriety, with a clear conscience, to ensure that project outcomes are relevant and responsive to our capability needs,” the oath read.

It also binds soldiers to forsake personal interests and “act with due care, thoroughness, and diligence” to ensure that all transactions and deliverables are for the benefit the organization.

The officers and enlisted personnel are members of different Defense Acquisition System Assessment Teams, Technical Working Groups, Project Monitoring Teams, Bids and Awards Committees, Procurement Units, Joint Personal Staffs, and other AFP Units and Offices.

The Modernization Program’s Horizon Two worth PHP300-billion was approved in June 2018 by President Rodrigo Duterte for implementation until 2022.

These include projects aimed at upgrading the fire power, weapon systems, and combat vehicles for the Philippine Army; acquisition of combat engineer equipment, air defense surveillance system, unmanned aerial system, and attack helicopters for Philippine Air Force; and purchase of amphibious assault vehicles and base support and logistics for the Philippine Navy. (PNA)