Tell it to SunStar: Worsening PH’s ‘human rights crisis’

By Kej Andres, chairperson of the ecumenical youth group Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
Tell it to SunStar: Worsening PH’s ‘human rights crisis’

We are concerned about the reallocation of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) to security agencies. Lawmakers have expressed in a statement this Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, that aims to reallocate CIF, especially with China’s latest action in the West Philippine Sea, in which China illegally put up floating barriers.

We are uncertain about certain agencies indicated in the proposal, particularly with the National Security Agency (NSC) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica). We are concerned about how the CIF can be used by these agencies for counter-insurgency operations which can worsen human rights violations.

Allocating more confidential and intelligence funds to the NSC and the Nica, which has been responsible for human rights violations, would only worsen the human rights crisis in the country. Why not abolish confidential funds altogether, and instead funnel taxpayers’ money into social services like education and health?

The NSC is the one that coordinates, advocates, and oversees the National Security Policy 2023-2028 of the Marcos Jr. administration, which human rights advocates have criticized for continuing the previous security policy of the Duterte administration on militarizing civilian agencies and worsening human rights violations through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), the Anti-Terrorism Act, and others. The director general of the NSC is Gen. Eduardo Año, a suspect in the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos, and the said protégé of “The Butcher” Gen. Jovito Palparan.

Meanwhile, as Nica is responsible for intelligence activities, its actions have been pointed out as the ones that have led to illegal arrests, abductions, and even extra-judicial killings of human rights advocates and activists.

As the original proposal to inject CIF into civilian agencies is to use these agencies for militarization and intelligence activities, diverting CIF to NSC and Nica will only continue these kinds of human rights violations under other agencies, still a misuse of people’s money aimed towards fascism.

This recent move can be seen as a maneuver to get away with the dubious plans of the Marcos Jr. administration and ends by challenging lawmakers to put money into what is worth for the Filipino people.

The Marcos-Duterte administration is trying to save face, especially if they themselves are not held accountable for their nefarious plans to initially allocate gargantuan confidential funds, especially to civilian agencies. We urge lawmakers to abolish confidential funds and instead allocate more into basic social services as there are massive budget cuts for state universities and colleges and for the Department of Health. Else, the Marcos-Duterte budget for 2024 will remain a budget for fascism and not for answering the people’s prayers for a better way of life.


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