Palace OK with using anti-communist task force funds for Rolly response
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang doesn’t see any problem in the proposal to reallocate a portion of the proposed budget of the anti-communist task force to relief and rehabilitation efforts in communities battered by Super Typhoon Rolly.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said using the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) in helping residents of Bicol regions, which he called a “hotbed” for communist insurgency, falls within the mandate of the task force.
“The objective of ELCAC is to promote development in areas with ongoing insurgencies because we know that poverty is still the root cause of insurgency,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
“So I don’t think there is any inconsistency with the proposal to actually spend funds in typhoon damaged areas because it is a fact that Bicol also is a hotbed for insurgency. So that would be within the mandate of ELCAC,” he added.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier proposed that part of the budget for the task force, which had been criticized for branding progressive lawmakers, activists, and administration critics as communists, will be better spent for victims of the recent destructive typhoon.
Hontiveros made the statement on Tuesday after the hearing on the alleged Red-tagging by the task force of members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives and some celebrities.
Aside from killing at least 20 people in the Bicol region, Super Typhoon Rolly, the world’s strongest storm this year, also damaged agricultural crops and infrastructure worth P6 billion.