DILG pleads for anti-communist barangay funds
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año assured the public on Wednesday that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will be transparent in the disbursement of funds for infrastructure projects under the anti-insurgency task force’s development program for 822 barangays said to be cleared of communist influence.
Año gave the assurance as senators questioned the speedy release of P10.6 billion from the P19 billion allocated to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) for 2021.
“We are finally gaining traction in the whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict through the efforts of our government forces and with the Barangay Development Program (BDP),” Año said in a statement on Wednesday.
The DILG, which is part of the NTF-Elcac, said the implementation of the P16.44-billion BDP would be open to the public. In January, the Department of Budget and Management released Local Budget Circular No. 135 listing the 822 barangays that would benefit from the program.
More than three-fourths of the funds, or P12.42 billion out of the P16.44 billion, was allocated for Mindanao barangays, 215 of which were from President Duterte’s home region of Davao.
“The government’s efforts in clearing these barangays of communist terrorists will be put to waste if we suddenly leave them hanging now that they have been freed from the clutches of communist terrorist groups,” Año said.
“We therefore appeal to our senators not to deprive these barangays of government support and assistance now that they need us most,” he added.
“The very reason that these barangays were misled and influenced by the communist terrorist groups is because the people never felt the presence of government. For the first time, they will get the government attention and assistance that they deserve,” Año said.
Under the BDP, every cleared barangay would be given P20 million for infrastructure and development projects.
The fund, Año noted, could also be used for COVID-19 vaccination and other health-related projects.
Año said 2,386 projects had been identified by the local governments that would fall under the BDP.
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