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Lawmaker questions proposed P16-B barangay development program

A lawmaker on Friday questioned the government's proposed P16-billion barangay development program for communities "cleared" of insurgency.

"Doon po sa NTF-ELCAC, very questionable po itong barangay development program, parang tingin ko malaking pork barrel ito na mapupunta doon sa DILG," ACT Teachers’ Partylist Rep. France Castro said during budget deliberations.

She said the projects to be implemented under the barangay development program may be redundant given the projects to be rolled out by agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health.

The NTF-ELCAC is the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, a body created by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018 to implement the government's "whole-of-nation" approach towards "inclusive and sustainable peace."

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado explained Friday that under Executive Order No. 70, which created the NTF-ELCAC, government projects have to be implemented in communities that have been "cleared" of insurgency.

The budget department is proposing a P19.13-billion budget for the NTF-ELCAC in 2021. Most of it, or P16.44 billion, is proposed to support the barangay development program.

Avisado said the program will provide infrastructure projects and assistance to indigent persons or families in "cleared" barangays as certified by the NTF-ELCAC. — DVM, GMA News