MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday said local government units (LGUs) “enjoy local autonomy, are not stupid to support the godless and obsolete ideology of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) and are fed up with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front’s (CPP-NPA-NDF) violence and atrocities.”
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año made the comment following allegations by the Communist Party of the Philippines that LGUs are being forced to declare the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata by threatening to withhold the LGUs’ budget.
“Please do not insult the intelligence of our local government officials. Hindi mangmang ang mga LGUs at hindi sila madidiktahan na gumawa ng mga bagay na labag sa kanilang kalooban. Ang katotohanan ay mulat ang mga mata nila at saksi sila sa panloloko ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa kanilang mga lugar (LGUs are not ignorant and they will not be dictated to do something against their will. The truth is they know and are witness to CPP-NPA-NDF’s deception in their areas,” Año said.
Año said it is preposterous for the CPP to insinuate that LGUs are being forced to issue such declaration because LGUs are not witless and stupid puppets.
“On the contrary, they are very much aware of the situation on the ground and of the CTG’s harassment and extortion activities on businesses and ambuscades and raids on government forces that has led to some 40,000 deaths of police, military, and civilians in its more than 50-year reign of terror in the countryside,” he said.
“Kaya hindi naman nakapagtataka na ideklara ng higit sa 1,500 LGUs na persona non grata ang mga criminal at teroristang ito dahil matagal na silang nagpapahirap sa bayan at salot sa lipunan (So it’s not surprising that over 1,500 LGUs declared these criminals and terrorists persona non grata because they (CTGs) have been terrorizing the people and are considered plague to the society),” he added.
The DILG earlier said a total of 1,546 LGUs nationwide have declared the CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata in their localities. In response, the CPP released a statement saying that the said LGUs were merely forced to pass the declaration otherwise their budget would be withheld.
Año said the CPP’s attempt to connect the persona non grata issue to budget allocation for LGUs is straight out of a teleserye narrative.
“Wala na talaga silang maisip na palusot kaya kinakabit nila ang pagdeklara ng persona non grata sa usapin ng budget para sa mga LGUs. Taktika na naman nila ito para linlangin ang publiko at matabunan ang katotohanang isinusuka na sila ng bayan (They have run out of reason so they try to connect declaration of persona non grata to the budget of the LGUs. It’s their tactic to confuse the public and cover the fact that people reject them already),” he said.
He said the annual Internal Revenue Allotment for LGUs is released and downloaded automatically to them in accordance with the provision of the Constitution.
In 2020 alone, he said local governments received more than PHP640 billion in funds without a single complaint from LGUs.
“Lahat ng pondo para sa mga LGU na ultimately ay para sa mga mamamayan ay nakakarating sa kanila. Yan ang katotohanan (All the funds for LGUs that ultimately are given to the people reach them. That’s the truth),” he said.
In fact, the DILG chief also emphasized that LGUs received more budget this year through the Bayanihan To Heal as One law and Bayanihan to Recover as One law in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 public health emergency, debunking CPP’s insinuation of budget manipulation.
In Bayanihan 2 Law alone, LGUs are taking advantage of the PHP1.5-billion allocation under the Covid-19 Local Government Support Fund to provinces, municipalities, and cities for their respective Covid-19 response initiatives. In his report to Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte said a total of PHP18-billion worth of budgetary assistance was given to LGUs through the Bayanihan 1 law.
He said that such allegation of budget denial is fake news. “It’s the usual black propaganda of the CTGs.” (PNA)