MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday appealed to the Senate to support the development projects, particularly in the far-flung villages, initiated by the National Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to maintain peace and order in the country.
Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the call, after the Senate Committee on Finance earlier decided to cut the NTF-ELCAC’s proposed 2022 budget from PHP28.12 billion to a measly PHP4 billion.
“Kami po ay nananawagan din po sa Senado na i-reconsider po nila iyang desisyon po nila dahil unang-una (We are asking the Senate to reconsider their decision because first and foremost), there cannot be peace without development; there cannot be any development without peace. They go hand in hand po, alam po ng ating mga mabubuting senador iyan (and our good senators know that),” Nograles said in a virtual presser.
The NTF-ELCAC was supposed to get PHP28.12 billion under the proposed National Expenditure Program for 2022.
The House of Representatives adopted the proposed PHP28.12-billion funding for the NTF-ELCAC, but the Senate Committee on Finance decided to give the anti-insurgency task force just PHP4 billion.
Nograles said many local government units (LGUs) are expecting to benefit from the NTF-ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program (BDP), which aims to help people living in areas freed from the communist insurgency.
“‘Yung mga LGU na nagsumikap na magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa kanilang mga lokalidad ay umaasa sa mga proyektong ito (LGUs that are trying to maintain peace within their respective localities are relying on these projects),” he said. “Itong mga proyektong ito ay magsu-sustain ng ating (These projects will sustain our peace and development efforts).”
Nograles expressed hope that the Senate would retain the NTF-ELCAC’s proposed budget for 2022.
“Kami ay nakikiusap sa Senado na suportahan ang mga proyektong ito dahil ito ay para sa ikauunlad, ikabubuti ng ating mga kababayan na nasa malalayong lugar na matagal na pong umaasa na dahil sa kapayapaan at para sa patuloy na kapayapaan sa kanilang lugar inaasahan nila na maramdaman itong mga proyektong ito (We are asking the Senate to support these projects for the betterment of our fellow countrymen residing in far-flung areas and hoping for peace through these projects),” Nograles said.
The BDP, which intends to bring development to former conflict-prone communities, is a package of socio-economic development programs that include farm-to-market roads, livelihood, irrigation, and health stations.
A total of 1,406 villages nationwide are expected to benefit in 2022. They are set to receive PHP20 million each to finance their development projects. (PNA)