Palace backs using part of NTF-ELCAC funds for typhoon victims

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METRO MANILA – Malacañang expressed willingness to support a senator’s proposal to allocate part of the PHP16.4-billion anti-insurgency fund for the relief and rehabilitation efforts for those people affected by the Super Typhoon Rolly.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, He did not see any inconsistency with the recommendation to realign part of the NTF-ELCAC budget for the typhoon-hit areas.

Roque said that it was National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)’s mandate to promote the development of areas with ‘on-going insurgencies’.

He also confirmed that since some of the villages in the Bicol Region are affected by the insurgencies, part of the NTF-ELCAC’s funds may be used to help Filipinos recover from the calamity.

The palace said that since Bicol is a hotbed for insurgency, that would qualify as within the mandate of ELCAC.

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday, proposed that portion of ELCAC’s funds may be used to support Filipinos hit by the Typhoon to recover.

She also criticized the NTF-ELCAC’s budget as “questionably astronomic” compared to other key government agencies.

The PHP16.4-billion of PHP19-billion buedget of NTF-ELCAC in 2021 has been directed towards its Barangay Development Program.

Roque defended the PHP16.4 billion allocation of the agency saying it is a valid expenditure for the government’s anti-insurgency campaign.

National Security Adviser and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) vice-chair Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. also stepped out and defended the allegations that the budget for the Barangay Development Program will be used as a “Pork Barrel” as claimed by the Makabayan party list. Under the NTF ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program, funds can be used for the development and construction of various infrastructure projects like farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, health stations.

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