MMDA

Why does MMDA need P21-million intelligence funds, asks lawmaker

James Patrick Cruz

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Why does MMDA need P21-million intelligence funds, asks lawmaker

IN SESSION. In this file photo, the appropriations committee starts 2024 budget deliberations during plenary at the House of Representatives on September 19, 2023.

Rappler

Citing the joint circular no. 2015-01, Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel says the MMDA should not be entitled to intelligence funds. But the agency has been receiving intelligence funds since 2018.

MANILA, Philippines – Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel on Tuesday, September 26, questioned the proposed P21-million intelligence funds for the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for 2024.

“It is clear that the MMDA is not entitled to the intelligence fund. If they have something they want to pursue, there can be other funding sources available, but not from the intelligence fund,” Manuel said in Filipino.

But MMDA’s budget sponsor, Caloocan City 2nd District Representative Mary Mitzi Cajayon-Uy, said that the agency has been receiving intelligence funds since 2018.

However, Manuel said, based on the joint circular no. 2015-01, the “intelligence expenses refer to those related to intelligence information gathering activities of uniformed and military personnel and intelligence practitioners that have a direct impact on national security.”

The circular identifies intelligence practitioners as “experts or agents duly designated and authorized to perform intelligence information gathering and surveillance activities of the following government agencies:

  • Department of National Defense Online Sexual Exploitation of Children and Government Arsenal;
  • Philippine Navy;
  • Philippine Air Force;
  • Philippine Army;
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines-General Headquarters;
  • Philippine National Police;
  • National Intelligence Coordinating Agency;
  • Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency;
  • Other national government agencies which are expressly provided budget allocation for if under the GAA or other law/s.”

Manuel pointed out that the MMDA does not fall under the category of uniformed and military personnel or an intelligence practitioner.

Following Raoul’s inquiry, the sponsoring Caloocan lawmaker said that the agency is willing to forgo the proposal for the intelligence fund for 2024.

Cajayon-Uy admitted that the agency made a mistake by categorizing the budget item as an intelligence fund, and it should be labeled as confidential funds.

She explained that the agency’s intelligence funds are used for anti-criminality and anti-corruption in local governments. These funds are also locally sourced, according to Cajayon-Uy.

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    Thanks to Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel for questioning the proposed P21-million intelligence funds for the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for 2024. Thanks also to MMDA’s budget sponsor, Caloocan City 2nd District Representative Mary Mitzi Cajayon-Uy for immediately admitting the “mistake” and changing the item’s label in behalf of the concerned agency. Because of its immediate resolution, there is no need for lengthy arguments, which redirects the query, attacks the person of the interpellator, uses any kind of fallacy, etc. like that of a familiar recent “incident.”

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