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Marcos admin proposes P9.2 billion for confi, intel funds in 2024

Some P9.2 billion has been allocated for confidential and intelligence funds across government agencies for the fiscal year 2024, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Wednesday.

“For 2024, the confidential fund — this is across all agencies — is P4.3 billion, and the intel is P4.9 billion, and I think the amount is the same as 2023 level, almost the same,” she said.

Broken down, among the biggest allotments are those for the Office of the President with P4.5 billion, followed by the Department of National Defense (DND) with P1.7 billion, the Office of the Vice President with P500 million, and the Department of Education (DepEd) with P150 million.

“Alam niyo po, ‘yung confidential and intel funds, meron naman pong guidelines ‘yan from COA (Commission on Audit) on how to use the funds,” Pangandaman said.

“Hindi naman po siya budget na pagkabigay, they can disburse it and use it, meron din pong dokumento na sina-submit po sa COA then may breakdown din po ‘yan when we request the budget, so there’s full transparency when we request for these funds” she added.

(The confidential and intel funds have guidelines from the COA on how to use the funds. It is not a  budget that when released, they can disburse it and use it, there are documents submitted to COA and then there are also breakdowns when we request the budget, so there’s full transparency when we request for these funds.)

The figures were shared by Pangandaman during the turnover ceremony of the P5.768-trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2024 to the House of Representatives.

The proposal reflects a 9.5% increase from this year’s appropriations.

The general provisions section of the past NEP defines intelligence funds as those "related to intelligence information gathering activities of uniformed and military personnel, and intelligence practitioners" having direct impact to national security.

Meanwhile, confidential funds are those "related to surveillance activities in civilian government agencies that are intended to support the mandate or operations of the agency."

The Joint Circular No. 2015-01, issued by Commission on Audit (COA) and four other government bodies on January 8, 2015, governs the spending of intelligence and confidential funds, as well as the auditing of expenses under it.

While regular government expenses are audited by a designated team from COA, reports on the use of intelligence funds are submitted to the President, while those on the use of confidential funds are sent to the President, Senate President, Speaker of the House or to the Secretary of the DILG.

The submission of the NEP for 2024 came a week after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), as the 1987 Constitution provides that the budget must be submitted within 30 days of this.

“(T)he proposed national budget for FY 2024 shall continue to prioritize expenditure items that promote social and economic transformation through infrastructure development, food security, digital transformation, and human capital development,” the Department of Budget and Management  said in a statement.—LDF, GMA Integrated News