P16.2 billion fund for NPA-free barangays released

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly 100 percent or P16.26 billion of the P16.4-billion budget allocated for barangays declared free of communist rebels has been released to concerned local government units, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.

The amount, which was released to 812 barangays, would finance 2,276 projects.

“These projects are tangible proof of the government’s desire to bring development to far-flung areas, which have not seen government projects in a very long time,” Año said.

The projects under the barangay development program (BDP) include 926 farm-to-market roads worth P11.6 billion, 516 water and sanitation projects worth P2.386 billion, 156 health stations worth P491 million and 135 school buildings costing P569 million.

At least P482 million was allotted for rural electrification and P328 million for agricultural, livelihood and technical vocational projects.

Other projects under the BDP are assistance to indigent individuals and families; cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair and other similar projects, housing and COVID-19 initiatives.

Under the program, each eligible barangay will receive P20 million worth of projects.

Most of the barangays were cleared of communist insurgents from 2016 to 2019.

Año said only 10 barangays have yet to complete the documentary requirements as prescribed in the policies and procedures under the local circulars issued by the budget department.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured the public of transparency in the program, saying each project would adhere to the guidelines and standards of existing laws.

The DILG said the progress of the projects could be monitored through the BDP dashboard on the website of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

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