The Senate version of the 2022 national budget allocated P10.8 billion for the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Senate finance committee chairperson Sonny Angara disclosed this after Senator Ronald dela Rosa, sponsor of the NTF-ELCAC budget for 2022, appealed to his colleagues to provide the anti-insurgency task force a P19-billion budget next year or the same amount it received in 2021.
Previously, Angara announced that his committee slashed the NTF-ELCAC’s budget from P28 billion to P4 billion.
“Just to inform the vice chair, who’s made very powerful arguments in support [of] NTF-ELCAC, from the initial cut which resulted in the budget for the Barangay Development Fund going down to P4 billion, we’ve raised it now to around P10 billion,” Angara said.
"Maybe even in the bicam we can even try to go higher, ang mahirap po kasi dito maghanap ng pondo, ng source, kasi po pag nagdadagdag tayo sa isang departamento, nagbabawas din po tayo. So kung matulungan niyo kami na makahanap siguro ng pondo na pwedeng itukoy na puwedeng ilipat e willing naman ho tayong makipag-usap sa inyo," he explained.
(The hard part here is finding the source of funds because if we add funds to a department, we have to cut the budget in other agencies. If you can help us find the funds, we can realign it and we are willing to discuss it with you.)
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked Angara if the P2 billion budgetary support to the NTF-ELCAC that spread out to other government agencies, which he earlier flagged, was already included in the P10 billion.
“The P2 billion was reduced as suggested Mr. President by you and our other colleagues to P500 million. Some amounts that P1.5 billion was realigned to the Barangay Development Fund,” Angara responded.
“[The budget for NTF-ELCAC is] P10.8 billion to be exact,” he noted.
During the Senate plenary debates on the proposed 2022 budget, it was revealed that only 26 out of the 2,318 projects have been completed by the NTF-ELCAC.
This was the reason why the Senate panel initially slashed the budget of the anti-insurgency task force, Angara earlier said. — RSJ, GMA News