Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Palace justifies budget for intel, insurgency task force

PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, defended the proposed P36.7 billion budget for intelligence and confidential expenses, and anti-insurgency campaign.

“Patuloy pa rin po ang banta ng mga terorista, ng Isis, ng mga komunista, ng mga drug lords, kahit po may pandemya,” Roque said in a televised press briefing.

“Hindi naman po ibig sabihin may pandemya, tigil na muna ang terorismo. D’yan po napupunta ang intel fund,” he added.

Malacañang is proposing P8.6 billion was dedicated for intelligence and confidential expenses and P28.1 billion for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) as part of the P5.024-trillion budget for 2022.

Roque said that aside from dealing with insurgency, the NTF-Elcac also addresses hunger by undertaking livelihood projects to prevent people from joining the armed movement.

"Even amid the pandemic, hunger remains which is a reason to take up arms against the government. We need to create more jobs for the poor people because otherwise, they will become rebels," he said.

"This budget is in accordance with our target to have more development, livelihood projects to stir economic growth," he added.

The NTF-Elcac has been widely criticized for linking several individuals to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) without evidence.

Earlier, Senator Franklin Drilon said the funds that the government sets aside for the NTF-ELCAC should instead be used to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. (SunStar Philippines)


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