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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon vowed to oppose “tooth and nail” the budget that the government’s anti-insurgency task force would be proposing in 2022, dubbing the funds as “campaign kitty” for the upcoming presidential polls.
Drilon expressed his opposition to the proposed budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in a statement on Tuesday, June 1.
“We should be more vigilant. The 2022 budget is an election budget. We must not allow the budget to be used for election or partisan political activities,” said Drilon.
Drilon said he is ready to oppose the NTF-ELCAC budget “tooth and nail,” and believes that his colleagues will also defund or allocate zero budget to the task force.
The Senate minority leader estimates the NTF-ELCAC would propose some P28 billion in 2022.
He cited a previous statement of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, who said that out of the 2,220 barangays, 822 were “cleared” and received a P16.4-billion funding for their Barangay Development Program.
“That will be a whopping P28 billion election war chest. We will vehemently oppose the budget of NTF-ELCAC,” Drilon said.
Last April 27, Drilon led 14 other senators in filing a resolution that seeks to “censure” NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. for his “disrespectful, derogatory, and demeaning’ remarks against the legislators.
Parlade had called senators “stupid” when they threatened to defund the P19.1-billion budget of the NTF-ELCAC in 2021 amid Parlade’s red-tagging of community pantry organizers.
Malacañang is expected to submit the National Expenditure Program or its proposed national budget for 2022 to Congress around July or August, kicking off the budget hearings in the upper and lower houses. – Rappler.com
Jamilah Angco is a Rappler intern from the University of Santo Tomas. This article was reviewed by a reporter and an editor before publication.