Velasco backs additional funding for NTF-Elcac
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday expressed support to providing additional budget to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), even as some senators have been calling to defund the anti-insurgency body.
Velasco noted that funds are needed to develop barangays that are being infiltrated by members of the New People’s Army. He said that peace and order are among the key priorities of the Duterte administration.
“For me personally, naniniwala ako na kinakailangan talagang lagyan ng additional funding for these certain barangays sa areas na ito, mainly because kinakailangan natin pagandahin,” he told CNN Philippines in an interview.
(Personally, I believe we should provide additional funding to these barangays mainly because we have to develop them.)
Velasco pointed out that some people are being encouraged to join the communist movement because they don’t feel the presence of the government in their areas.
“With the presence of Elcac na pinapasok natin sa barangay, I really feel na mararamdaman lalo nila ang presence ng government sa mga barangays na ‘yun,” he added.
(With the presence of Elcac, I really think that they will feel the presence of the government more in those barangays.)
According to Velasco, House lawmakers may tackle the issue on the task force’s fund utilization during budget deliberations for 2022.
In April, at least six senators called for the withdrawal of funding for the NTF-Elcac and for the reallocation of its current P19-billion budget to aid people affected by the pandemic.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government is seeking a budget of P40 billion for the barangay development program of the task force in 2022.
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