Hontiveros wants P900-million PNP drug war budget dissolved for other projects

Rambo Talabong

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Hontiveros wants P900-million PNP drug war budget dissolved for other projects
Senator Risa Hontiveros, a member of the Senate finance committee, wants to spend the PNP's drug war budget for police training, investigations, operations, and health programs

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday, September 19, said that the P900-million budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP) allocated for Oplan Double Barrel —the PNP’s flagship project in the war on drugs—may be dissolved and distributed to other PNP programs.

“I wanted to explore sa (for the) DILG budget, specifically sa (for the) PNP budget, a reallocation of the 900M for double barrel for many other items within the PNP budget,” Hontiveros, a member of the Senate finance committee, said during the budget hearing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)

Hontiveros would like the budget to be reallocated to the following:

  • Continuous training and values relation of police officers
  • Intensified prosecution of erring police personnel
  • Operations against killings by riding in tandem and unidentified individuals
  • Health programs for cops

For the DILG, she said the money, if allowed to be divided, can be used to fund the local governments’ People’s Law Enforcement Boards (PLEBs).

Redundant proposal

To this, the Philippine National Police Deputy Director General Archie Gamboa said the Hontiveros’ proposal is redundant to the budget of the PNP as they have already allocated money for the programs Hontiveros mentioned.

Gamboa added that about a third of the P900 million goes to counter-intelligence and internal cleansing programs to make sure cops are operating with utmost regularity.

Gamboa then said that if the money were to be distributed to stations, he estimated that each station would just receive a measly P8,000 to add to their present programs.

Hontiveros, a vocal critic of the drug war, insisted there may still be other programs better deserving of the money and that the Senate committee will not distribute it “tingi-tingi.”

“We are not considering dividing it per capita but in significant amounts, chunks in programs of the PNP. Pinag-aaralan pa namin kung paano paghahatian ng PNP (We are still studying how we the budget can be divided within the PNP),” Hontiveros said. – Rappler.com 

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.