75% of anti-Red fund released
MANILA, Philippines — A total of P12.3 billion, or 75 percent, of the total budget for the 822 recipients of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the national government’s controversial anti-insurgency task force, have already been released to recipient local governments as of May 12.
In a statement on Friday, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the amount accounts for more than 1,750 projects in 617 barangays whose allocations were approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Malaya was assigned spokesperson for BDP and local government concerns of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
Malaya said the BDP funds were released directly by the DBM to recipient local governments upon completion of required documentation.
Of the 822 barangays, 782 barangays were endorsed for fund release by their respective Joint Regional Task Force-Elcac (JRTF). The other 40 barangays are still up for review and endorsement by the JRTF.
The public may monitor updates on BDP projects at NTF-Elcac webpage ntfelcac.org/bdp-dashboard.
“There everyone will be able to keep track of where their taxes are going. And we assure you that these funds are going to where they are supposed to go and are spent the way they are supposed to be spent,” Malaya said.
The P16.4-billion BDP is an incentive for barangays that have cleared their areas of communists. Under the program, each of the 822 barangays listed by the NTF-Elcac is set to receive P20 million.
This will be earmarked for farm-to-market roads (P12 million), livelihood (P1.5 million), irrigation (P1.5 million), health stations (P1.5 million), and school buildings (P3 million).
But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon criticized the speedy release of the BDP, as he questioned the government’s spending priorities amid the pandemic.
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