NTF-ELCAC budget cut may undermine success vs insurgency — Bongbong

NTF-ELCAC budget cut may undermine success vs insurgency — Bongbong

Leading presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos

MANILA — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. feared that the successful campaign of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) may be put to waste after the Philippine Senate slashed the agency’s budget for 2022 by P24 billion.

In a statement, Marcos, the standard-bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), said he was saddened by the Senate’s decision to reduce the budget of NTF-ELCAC to P4 billion from the proposed P28.12 billion budget for next year.

“Nakapanghihinayang na baka mabalewala at masayang lamang ang magandang nasimulan ng ahensya. Batid natin na kailangan ng sapat na pondo para masugpo ang insurgency na limang dekada na nating nilalabanan,” Marcos said.

Although Marcos acknowledged that the government funding should be focused on the fight against Covid-19, he stressed that the country must also prioritize the fight against any government threat and insurgency led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Records from the NTF-ELCAC show a total of 882 barangays in the country have been cleared from the terrorist group NPA from 2016 to 2019.

According to NTF-ELCAC, from its P16.44 billion budget this year, most of which went to its flagship program, the Barangay Development Program (BDP), where they provided development package incentives of P20 million to each barangay cleared of communist influence, including the construction of farm-to-market roads, health stations, classrooms, water sanitation systems, rural electrification, and other livelihood programs.

“Kung matitigil ang mga ito, nakakatakot isipin na ang mga barangay na nalinis na sa mga rebelde ay muling magbalik sa dating gawi nila na paglaban sa pamahalaan. Kaya dapat ay pag-isipan itong mabuti ng ating mga mambabatas,” Marcos explained.

Marcos added that he fully supports any government campaign against insurgency in the country to once and for all end this hindrance to progress especially in the countryside. (ai/mtvn)

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