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House bicam panel wants restoration of NTF-ELCAC budget

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House bicam panel wants restoration of NTF-ELCAC budget
In this Oct. 3, 2019 photo, rights groups call for the dismissal of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s perjury case.
Karapatan / Released

MANILA, Philippines — The House appropriations committee said it intended to push for the restoration of the 2023 budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict which was slashed by the Senate and House of Representatives. 

In a statement, appropriations committee chair and Rep. Zaldy Co (Ako Bicol Party-list) said the House bicameral panel will work with its Senate counterparts to restore the agency’s reduced budget as instructed by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Deputy Senior Majority Leader Ferdinand Sandro Marcos. 

But he also admitted the NTF-ELCAC has only completed less than half of its projects under its Support for Barangay Development Program for 2021.

“The situation is even worse in 2022. Based on reports received by my office, only 2% of NTF-ELCAC’s 2022 projects has been completed or ongoing. A whopping 98% of the projects are still under the pre-procurement or procurement stage, and it’s already December,” he said.

He urged the NTF's leadership to hasten the implementation of its projects and explore the possibility of collaborating with agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways which are better equipped to handle project procurement and implementation.

Co also called on NTF-ELCAC to exert more effort to fully utilize the budgets allocated by Congress. Otherwise, these will just go back to the national treasury instead of being fully used for Filipinos who need more and better social services. 

He said the funds are "particularly important since they will be distributed to various agencies for administrative and operational expenses in implementing the task force's Barangay Development Program for barangays deemed cleared of communist rebels."

“Congress recognizes the important role the NTF-ELCAC plays to help end the country’s decades-long insurgency. Thus, we will convince our Senate counterparts in the bicameral conference committee to restore the agency’s proposed budget. After all, this is one of the key priorities of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. which was clearly outlined in the National Expenditure Program the administration sent to Congress,” Co said. 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

NATIONAL TASK FORCE TO END LOCAL COMMUNIST ARMED CONFLICT

NTF-ELCAC

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