Albayalde cites ‘very important’ role of big intel fund in fight vs terrorism
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Thursday defended the request of President Rodrigo Duterte’s office to double its intelligence fund for 2020.
The Office of the President (OP) has asked Congress for an increased intelligence fund as it stressed the need for it to secure the country from internal and external threats, including terrorism.
Albayalde said the proposed allocation will play a “very important” role in addressing terrorism, as the government cannot deny that this major security issue really exists in the country.
“We have to invest in our counter-terrorism equipment, counter-terrorism efforts, at counter-terrorism interventions. Napakaimportante po nito at makukuha lang natin ito if we enhance our intelligence efforts,” he said in a chance interview at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
(We have to invest in our counter-terrorism equipment, counter-terrorism efforts, and counter-terrorism interventions. This is very important and we can only have this if we will enhance our intelligence efforts.)
Based on the proposed National Expenditure Program for 2020, OP is requesting a total of P4.5 billion fund for its confidential and intelligence expenses.
This is significantly higher than the P2.5 billion confidential and intelligence fund of the Office of the President in 2018 and 2019.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate earlier questioned this increased confidential and intelligence fund request of OP, saying that such proposal from Duterte’s office combined with proposed amendments to the Human Security Act, the police and the military’s push for the revival of the Anti-Subversion law, and supposed militarization of campuses would make the country look like a “de facto police state.”
But Albayalde said PNP’s proposed 2020 intelligence fund would not be enough to improve the capabilities of the police force in fighting enemies of the state.
This, even if Albayalde expressed gratitude to Duterte for increasing PNP’s budget from P173.5-billion in 2019 to P184.9 billion for next year.
Aside from the PNP, the proposed budget for the Department of National Defense also increased from P183.9 billion this year to P189 billion in 2020. /kga