Villanueva to push for Senate review of NTF-Elcac’s spending
MANILA, Philippines — After calling for the defunding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday said he will file a Senate resolution looking into how the organization is spending its funds.
“Trabaho at responsibilidad po natin na siguruhing nagagastos ng tama ang pera ng bayan,” Villanueva said in a video statement.
(It’s our job and responsibility to ensure that taxpayers’ money is being spent correctly.)
“I’m ready to file a Senate resolution to look into this at may mga ilang senador na din po tayong nakausap na. Again, importante po na responsible ang NTF-Elcac with a budget of P19 billion,” he added.
(I’m ready to file a Senate resolution to look into this and I have already talked with some senators about this. Again, it’s important for NTF-Elcac to be responsible with its P19-billion budget.)
This, as he lamented the “frustrating” actions of the government’s anti-insurgency task force, which is now in water once again for linking the organizer of the Maginhawa Community Pantry to the communist movement.
NTF-Elcac spokesperson Lt. Gen. Parlade has previously said they were “just checking” the background of those behind the highly popular community pantries to make sure that organizers do not have any other agenda.
“The action of the NTF-Elcac has been frustrating to say the least, they’ve been engaging in witch hunting in red-tagging. Para pong wild, wild west na [It looks like the wild, wild west here],” Villanueva went on.
He also called for a review of NTF-Elcac’s leadership.
“Malacañang na ang nagsabi na [Malacañng already said to] leave the community pantries alone and yet may ganito pa siyang lousy statement,” the senator pointed out.
He is referring to Parlade’s recent remarks against the Maginhawa Community Pantry organizer Patricia Non.
“Isang tao lang ‘yan ‘di ba? Si Ana, si Patricia ‘di ba. Same with Satan. Si Satan binigyan ng apple si Eve, doon lang nagsimula ‘yon,” Parlade said an interview over One News’ The Chiefs on Tuesday.
(Only one person is behind this, right? Ana, Patricia, right? Same with Satan. Satan gave the apple to Eve, that’s where it all starts.)
In a separate statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Parlade should just keep quiet because he is “damaging” the image of the Philippine military with his pronouncements.
“Dapat sa kanya tumahimik na lang dahil nakakasira sa imahen ng AFP bilang isang disiplinado at propesyunal na institusyon ang kanyang mga bitiw na salita na walang basehan at wala sa lugar,” Pangilinan said.
(He should just keep quiet because he’s ruining the image of the AFP as a disciplined and professional institution with his baseless and uncalled for remarks.)
“Kung sa ganyang baluktot na pag-iisip at palakad napupunta ang 19 bilyong pisong budget ng NTF-Elcac ay dapat bawiin na ito at ibigay sa ayuda ng mahihirap,” he added.
(If the P19-billion budget of NTF-Elcac is just going to go to such a twisted mind, we should just withdraw it and give it to the poor.)
Several senators recently sought to defund the NTF-Elcac, with some saying its P19-billion fund would be better utilized for the aid of Filipinos affected by the pandemic.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, however, said that officials making “irresponsible” statements should just be replaced instead of defunding a “good” program.
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