In the proposed 2020 national budget submitted by the Department of Budget and Management last Tuesday, appropriations for the Department of National Defense (DND) and the PNP increased to P189 billion and P184.9 billion, respectively.
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Duterte wants bigger budget for AFP, PNP in 2020
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte wants bigger budget for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) next year.

In the proposed 2020 national budget submitted by the Department of Budget and Management last Tuesday, appropriations for the Department of National Defense (DND) and the PNP increased to P189 billion and P184.9 billion, respectively.

The two agencies have enjoyed significant budget increases under the Duterte administration.

The DND’s budget, which will cover the line agencies of AFP, showed a P5 billion increase from P183.9 billion for this year. 

It has the fifth biggest allocation among government agencies.

The Philippine Army will get P91.5 billion or P2.5 billion higher than its 2019 budget of P89.5 billion.

The Philippine Air Force, on the other hand, has been allocated P25.9 billion, P1.3 billion higher than its P24.6-billion budget this year. 

The Philippine Navy, for its part, will get P29 billion for 2020 or P1.2-billion higher than its budget for this year of P27.8 billion.

Duterte earlier announced that the 2020 DND budget would include portions of the second phase of the Philippine military modernization plan covering the period 2018 to 2022 and the amount of P125 billion for the acquisition of more equipment for external defense missions, including helicopters, fighter aircraft, multi-role fighters and missile and radar systems.

The first phase of the AFP modernization plan covered the years 2013 to 2017, for which at least P85 billion was allocated for the acquisition of assets including combat utility and attack helicopters, frigates, armored vehicles, rifles, and cargo and transport aircraft.

The President had also committed to pouring in P500 million for medical assistance to troops in the battlefield. 

The PNP, on the other hand, will get a 30 percent increase in its budget for 2020 or P11.4 billion higher than its P173.5-billion budget for this year.

The increase, according to Duterte, will boost PNP’s campaign against criminality and terrorism.

While the PNP’s capital outlays for property and equipment acquisitions will go down to P2.7 billion next year from P5.97 billion this year, its operating expenses will significantly increase from P167.5 billion this year to P182 billion next year.

The PNP’s proposed 2020 budget includes P546 million that would fund the implementation of an anti-illegal drug strategy, with the Dangerous Drugs Board as the lead agency.

It will also cover P14.4 billion for 26,686 positions and P3 billion for additional 10,000 patrolman positions.

To complement the hiring of additional police officers, Duterte said he is proposing the allocation of P100 million for the construction of more police stations.

The House of Representatives is set to deliberate on the proposed budgets of DND and PNP next month.

Police state

Meanwhile, militant party-list lawmakers questioned the intelligence and confidential funds in the proposed budget that they said amounted to P8.28 billion.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate assailed the increase in Duterte administration’s intelligence funds from this year’s P4.067 billion to P4.786 billion next year as well as the increase in confidential expenses from P2.965 in 2019 to P3.497 billion in 2020.

Portions of the intelligence funds will be allocated to the AFP (P1.7 billion) and PNP (P806.02 million).

Zarate called on his colleagues to scrutinize these proposed funds, which their group believe would be used to target progressive movements.

“Take this proposed intelligence budget with the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act (HSA) along with the PNP’s and AFP’s push for the revival of the Anti-Subversion law and the militarization of campuses, then these would effectively make the whole Philippines as a police state,” he said.

Confidential and intelligence funds have been subject of criticisms by advocates of government transparency and accountability since these are not covered by public disclosure and disbursement documentation rules due to their sensitive nature. 

The Commission on Audit (COA) said these funds should be used for intelligence gathering or the “purchase” of information” necessary for public safety and national security.   

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