Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

P3.7-T national budget 'anti-people', opposition solons say

Voting 223-9, the lower house on Monday passed on third and final reading the proposed P3.767-trillion 2018 national budget. File

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has passed a budget bill that will fund the Duterte administration's "witch hunt and killing spree", critics said.

Voting 223-9, the lower house on Monday passed on third and final reading the proposed P3.767-trillion budget, but this will still need to be reconciled with the Senate's version of the budget bill.

READHouse OKs budget; CHR gets P500 M

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

In a statement, human rights group Karapatan called the 2018 budget “Duterte’s war chest and witch hunt tools against Filipino people.”

“The House of Representatives’ approval of the proposed 2018 budget shows that it is complicit in the executive branch’s design to strengthen its 'kill, kill, kill' program and build up the Duterte regime’s war chest against the Filipino people,” it said.

In a press release from the House of Representatives, Davao City Rep. Karl Alexei Nograles, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, congratulated his colleagues "for their active participation in the entire budget process, from the committee hearings all the way to the plenary debates."

Nograles said the chamber had used its power of the purse responsibly, especially in finding funding for the Free Higher Education Law.

“By doing so, we have ensured the future of young Filipinos all over the country by granting them free access to college or technical-vocational education and better their chances of finding responsible work to help support their families," he said. 

Double Barrel, MASA-MASID

But Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay noted that a portion of the budget will be used to finance the government’s Oplan Double Barrel and Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (MASA-MASID) program.

MASA-MASID program employs the use of dropbox system for anonymous reporting of alleged drug users and dealers.

“It is designed to support the Duterte administration’s witch hunt and killing spree of small-time suspected drug users/peddlers, innocents and perceived enemies of the State. Undoubtedly, these programs will result in more human rights violations by police and local officials,” Palabay said.

The Philippine National Police will be allotted P131.5 billion, 17.6 percent higher than the 2017 budget. The funding for its anti-war operations Oplan Double Barrel was reloaded with P900 million in fresh funds, 

a 4,400 percent jump from this year’s P20 million budget.

According to the government’s #RealNumbersPH campaign's release as of August 29, there were 3,811 drug personalities who died in anti-drug operations since July 1, 2016.

However, human rights groups estimate a higher death toll, with more than 12,000 individuals killed in the course of the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.

Budget opposition in House

The nine legislators who voted against the 2018 budget were Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Makabayan bloc members: Gabriela party-list Reps. Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus, ACT Teachers party-list Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao, Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Jane Elago and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

Alejano said he did not support the budget because it “patronizes killings and desecrates the rule of law.”

“The 2018 national budget [...] funds the government’s war on illegal drugs, a program that is based on dubious and questionable data, and lacks the holistic approach to address the root causes of the drug problem in the country. This war has so far claimed thousands of lives of the poor that this budget supposedly aims to serve,” he said.

READProposed drug war budget hike alarms solon, rights group

Zarate said the administration’s proposed budget fails to address the needs of Filipinos.

“Binabawasan ang mga serbisyong panlipunan kagaya ng kalusugan at pabahay habang nagbibigay ng malaking subsidy sa malalaking local at dayuhang korporasyon at nagpapanatili at nagpapalubha sa “culture of impunity,” he said.

Casilao called the 2018 budget “fascist and anti-people.”

“Ang pinagsamang budget ng AFP at PNP na P271 bilyon ay pondo para sa panunupil ng mamamayan. Ito ay mapupunta sa Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded, sa all-out war, sa malawakang militarisasyon at pang-aerial bombings ng mga farmer communities, pang-surveillance at pagpataw ng mga trumped up cases sa mga aktibista, pang-extra-judicial killings, pang-human rights violations,” he said.

The education sector will get the biggest chunk of the budget with a funding of P701.5 billion.

The other agencies with the highest budgetary allocations are: Department of Public Works and Highways (P639.8 billion), Department of Interior and Local Government (P172.3 billion), Department of Health (P164.5 billion), Department of National Defense (P145 billion) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (P137.1 billion).

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1