The Senate Finance committee on Tuesday approved the proposed budget allocations of the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
Under the 2023 National Expenditure Program or NEP, the budget of the NSC was pegged at P343.3 million while NICA has an allocation of P1.058 billion.
The budget deliberations of the two agencies lasted for more than two hours in an executive session.
The senators opted for an executive session due to the sensitive issues tackled concerning national security.
Senate Finance committee chairperson Sen. Sonny Angara noted that for the past four years, they have been giving an increase in the budget of these two agencies due to their role in keeping the country protected.
During the hearing, Angara said the officials of the two agencies sought additional allocations for maintenance, operations, and overhead expenditures; capital outlay; and procurement of equipment and vehicles.
The additional funding, Angara said, will also be used to strengthen the two institutions.
According to Angara, almost all other agencies have been asking for an additional budget. He noted that the utilization rates of funds of the NICA and NSC were pegged at 60 percent to -70 percent.
Regarding Sen. Risa Hontiveros inquiry that t the confidential funds of the Department of Education (DepEd) is higher than NICA, Angara pointed out that the confidential funds of the latter is still higher.
He also does not see anything wrong in the DepEd confidential funds especially if this is not wasted.
The finance committee targets to finish all the committee hearings until this month. Angara said by November, the committee will conduct the sponsorship and debates on the budget.