Drilon wants P1.4-B anti-drug budget realigned to house policemen
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday, November 16, said he would propose that the P1.4-billion anti-illegal drugs budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) be used instead for the housing needs of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Under the proposed 2018 budget, the PNP's Oplan Double Barrel and the DILG's community-based Masa Masid program have allocations of P900 million and P500 million, respectively.
"I would plead with the good sponsor that we should devote all of this for the housing needs of PNP," Drilon said during plenary debates on the 2018 budget on Thursday.
Drilon said the P1.4-billion allocation should be moved "since the PNP is no longer involved in the illegal drugs [campaign], and these two items are on illegal drugs."
In October, President Rodrigo Duterte named the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the "sole agency" in charge of his controversial war on drugs.
A day after the announcement, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the chamber might realign the P900-million allocation for Oplan Double Barrel to the PDEA and the housing sector.
On Thursday, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito – the sponsor of the DILG budget in the Senate – said the PNP needs 10,300 units of housing.
If every unit costs P595,000, Ejercito estimated that P6.13 billion will be needed to build the housing units. But Drilon pointed out that the present allocation for the housing of PNP personnel is only P1.6 billion.
Drilon said he would propose this realignment during the period of amendments. Ejercito said he would also make some proposals for counter-terrorism.
During Drilon's interpellation, he grilled the PNP for allocating P541 million for supplies when the agency has a "regular budget item" for this.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, wants the Double Barrel's proposed P900-million allocation to be realigned instead to the PNP's maintenance and other operational expenses (MOOE).
"Some of my colleagues would want the P900 million realigned to PDEA instead. But since I'm the sponsor of PDEA and I know we've already augmented PDEA with P1.2 billion, maybe I would realign instead the P900 million from the Double Barrel fund to their [maintenance and other operational expenses]," Lacson told reporters on Thursday.
He said realigning the P900 million will increase PNP's per capita spending from P1,000 per police officer per month to P1,400 per police officer per month. – Rappler.com