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NTF-ELCAC proposed 2023 budget reduced to P10B

The proposed 2023 budget for the government's anti-insurgency unit National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has been reduced to P10 billion from P16 billion this year,  the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Monday.

DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said the P10 billion NTF-ELCAC budget will be for its Barangay Development Program and will form part of the P28.9 billion Local Government Support Fund under the proposed 2023 budget.

Pangandaman said the recipient barangays of the NTF-ELCAC budget will still have to be evaluated.

"The release will be subject to guidelines which we will make with the DILG and the National Security Agency (Council)," she said.

Then President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 70 dated December 4, 2018 which created the NTF-ELCAC under the OP.

NTF-ELCAC's mandate is "to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the whole-of-the­ nation approach for the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace by prioritizing and harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict affected areas and vulnerable communities, facilitating societal inclusivity and ensuring active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuits  of the country's peace agenda."

NTF-ELCAC drew controversies during  the previous administration, with its spokesperson and retired military officer Antonio Parlade Jr. linking administration critics, celebrities, community pantry organizers, and schools to the communist movement—a practice called red-tagging.

Parlade left the NTF-ELCAC ahead of his retirement last July 2021.

Aside from the NTF-ELCAC budget, the local government units were also allocated P13.9 billion Growth Equity Fund and P5 million financial assistance fund.

"The Growth Equity Fund will be for fourth, fifth, and sixth class municipalities and barangays, para mabigyan natin sila ng programs and projects para at least makahabol po sila sa mas mataas na municipalities (so that we can provide them programs and projects which will give them a chance to catch up with municipalities with higher resources)," Pangandaman added.—AOL, GMA News