Lawmakers are backing the proposal for a higher budget for National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in 2022.
Legislators tackled the agency’s budget at the 2022 Congressional Bicameral Conference Committee.
Before the 2022 bicam, Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was already convinced that the NTF-ELCAC budget, especially its flagship program, the Barangay Development Program (BDP) will be given a higher budget.
Angara said that with the recent submission of the NTF-ELCAC’s accomplishment report on the BDP, most of the senators have now a bigger picture of how very important the projects are for barangays in the far-flung areas.
According to Angara, if they will push through with the additional budget at the bicam, most of the senators would want the funding to be put into the infrastructure component of BDP.
Angara however explained that the massive budget cut made by the Senate in the NTF-ELCAC proposed budget for the 2022 was brought about by theNTF-ELCAC delayed reports on the BDP.
Angara also suggested that the NTF-ELCAC should set aside a budget for its system of monitoring and reporting, because of the huge undertaking of the BDP.
Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, a member of the Senate contingent for the 2022 bicam said that what he wanted is for the NTF-ELCAC to have a budget of at least P19 billion.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has already expressed his dismay over the budget cuts.
National Security Adviser (NSA) and NTF-ELCAC Vice chair Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, reiterated that the BDP is beyond any political agenda.
Several governors which includes Sorsogon Gov. Salvador Chiz Escudero, Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang, Davao de Oro Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy, North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco, Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri Jr., were also
very disappointed of the budget cuts made by the Senate.
Many of the governors also said that the budget cut would only benefit the CPP-NPA-NDF, as these communist terrorist groups (CTGs) will easily discredit the government efforts for failing to fulfill the promises to the already poverty-stricken barangays.