Speaker one with Sara on CIF for peace, security

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Speaker one with Sara on CIF for peace, security
Speaker Martin Romualdez
Martin Romualdez / Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez assured the public yesterday that the House of Representatives agrees with Vice President Sara Duterte that confidential funds should be utilized “to promote peace and security.”

“We are all for the confidential funds and we are all for peace and security. For that, we are in total agreement that the utilization of these funds is to promote peace and security,” he said in a press briefing.

Romualdez noted this is the reason why he and some House leaders visited Pag-asa Island on Oct. 5 to look at “other ways how to make sure that peace and security of the country as a whole is protected.”

“You know, the West Philippine Sea has become a very tough issue of the day with incidents of incursions into our area, incidents with our fisherfolk and we would like to make sure that the confidential and intelligence funds are most properly utilized by agencies and departments that are best suited for deploying proper resources and personnel for promotion of peace and security,” he added.

The Speaker maintained that the chamber is “one with the Vice President in having and to make sure that confidential intelligence funds are always part of the equation and best left with agencies and departments that are most best suited.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa yesterday tagged the House Makabayan bloc as “enemies of peace” for opposing Duterte’s confidential and intelligence funds.

Dela Rosa said the progressive bloc was opposing such allocations because they know these funds will be used against them and address the problems they have been causing.

He stressed that Duterte’s confidential funds will be used for monitoring Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) recruitment among students and youth.

“So they are fighting for their existence and one way of fighting for their existence is to really avoid Vice President Duterte from getting a confidential fund so that their recruitment can continue,” Dela Rosa said in a phone interview with Senate reporters.

He said the funds are more critical for the use of the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Who are those noisy leftists aligned with? Isn’t it aligned to the left?” Dela Rosa asked.

Asked if he was referring to the Makabayan bloc, the senator replied, “Sino pa?” (Who else?) He did not specifically identify them.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas comprise the Makabayan bloc in the House.

Dela Rosa, the first national police chief of former president Rodrigo Duterte, the Vice President’s father, said, “I am with VP Sara.”

“I am with them when they declare that those who stand in the way are the enemies of peace,” he said. “I am referring to the enemies of peace as to those who are part of the Makabayan bloc, those who were red-tagged by Joma Sison as part and parcel of the revolutionary process, the party-lists as part of the CPP-NPA-NDF.”

Real enemies of peace

The chronic poverty and rampant corruption in government are the true enemies of peace in the country, peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilpinas (KMP) said yesterday.

The KMP issued the statement as it criticized Duterte’s “arrogant statement that those opposing confidential funds of government agencies are enemies of peace.”

“Confidential funds do not promote peace. It only worsens the deep-seated corruption and entitlement within the bureaucracy,” KMP chairman Danilo Ramos said.

For Ramos, confidential funds take away public spending for much-needed social services such as free education, health care and affordable housing.

Ramos branded Duterte as hypocritical for defending confidential funds under her office and DepEd, which will result in budget cuts for state universities and colleges and public hospitals.

He said Duterte rightfully deserves the plunge in her latest approval ratings because of the issue on confidential funds.

“Maintaining confidential funds while the country is reeling from economic decline and sharp inflation is immoral,” KMP said.

Meanwhile, gender equality group Enough is Enough (EIE) lead convener Sophia Reyes said the “fallacious nature” of the Vice President’s statement is “drawing parallels to her father’s rhetoric during his presidency.”

Reyes urged ordinary citizens to question the legality and wisdom of Duterte’s request for taxpayers’ funds, arguing that it goes beyond her mandate as Vice President and DepEd secretary.

She further criticized Duterte’s negligence in addressing the increasing number of victims of campus predators and enablers within her department and questioned how much of the funds were allocated to making campuses safe spaces.

EIE is also a signatory to a petition urging Congress to eliminate all confidential and intelligence funds and redirect them toward fundamental social services such as education, health care, public housing and climate adaptation. — Mark Ernest Villeza, Emmanuel Tupas, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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