The controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) will get additional funding if presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. wins in the May 2022 national elections.
The former senator ensured this as he expressed full support to the anti-communist insurgency task force, hailing its performance despite budget cuts.
"Maganda ang NTF-ELCAC. Even if nabawasan ang kanilang budget, hindi nagbago. Nakakatulong talaga. I think we should continue that," Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., said in a statement on Monday.
"It is something that I see na may effect na medyo maganda at nabibigyan ng pagkakataon maghanap-buhay and to rejoin the society."
(The NTF-ELCAC is good. Even if its budget was slashed, its performance did not change, it really helps communities. I think we should continue that. It is something that has a beneficial effect and it allows rebel returnees to rejoin the society.)
Marcos vowed to give more funds to the task force's Barangay Development Program (BDP), a flagship program that seeks to address insurgency by bringing sustainable solutions and basic services to concerned communities.
"We have to invest in success. Kung successful ‘yung programa eh doon tayo maglagay ng pondo. Ipagpatuloy natin ‘yung kanilang ginagawa," Marcos said.
(If the program was successful, let's put more funds into it, let's continue what they are doing.)
Meanwhile, Marcos slammed the "obsolete ideology peddled by local terrorist groups to lure in naive and gullible followers." He said the communist group's ideology has lost support and has become irrelevant.
"If they continue in their wish to overthrow the government by violent means, how can I be on their side? Besides, the ideology that they are espousing no longer has much support," Marcos said.
In the P5.024 trillion budget for fiscal year 2022, the NTF-ELCAC was allotted more than P16 billion. The amount was an increase of at least P6 billion from the P10.8 billion that was allotted in the Senate version of the 2022 budget bill.
During the Senate plenary debates on the proposed 2022 budget last year, it was found out that only 26 out of the 2,318 projects have been completed by the NTF-ELCAC.
Some lawmakers had called for the defunding or abolition of the task force because of the reported red-tagging activities of some of its officials. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News