P28-B NTF-Elcac fund for barangays is ‘pork barrel’, DILG told
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was grilled Monday over the more than P28 billion funds for the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), which some lawmakers said is a form of “pork barrel.”
During the deliberations on the proposed budget of the DILG, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas said the proposed budget for the BDP is a “pork barrel” since the barangays, as well as the projects that the funds will be used for, are not specified in the National Expenditure Program for 2022.
Under the BDP, barangays which were previously “influenced” by communist rebels but are now declared cleared by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and by the Philippine National Police will receive P20 million for various development programs.
“Nagtataka kami kasi kung walang listahan nito tapos kabilang sa bibigyan ng P20 million each sa ilalim ng BDP, walang breakdown nitong P28.1 billion, lump sum ito. Pork barrel ito,” Brosas said.
(We are puzzled because there is no list of barangays that will be given P20 million each under the BDP. There is no breakdown of the P28.1 billion proposal. This is a lump sum, this is pork barrel.)
“Paano tayo makakatiyak na implementation-ready na ang mga proyekto ng NTF-ELCAC? Yung proyekto ng ibang mambabatas e ng ilang mambabatas iniipit dahil daw hindi implemetation-ready pero ito meron na kaagad diretso, meron na agad na naga-allot itong BDP,” she added.
(How can we be assured that the projects of the NTF-ELCAC are implementation-ready? Some lawmakers’ projects are blocked for not being implementation-ready, but in the caseof BDP, there is already an allotment.)
Brosas said the funds could have instead been used for pandemic response programs of the government.
The lawmakers’ sentiments were backed by Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago who said that the funds were prone to “misuse and abuse.”
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that the list of barangays to be covered by the BDP are already with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), noting that there are certain processes to be followed.
“Magbibigay din po kami ng kopya sa mababang kapulungan. In process po kasi ‘yung pagsusulat sa line items. Ipinapangako po namin na isa-submit namin ito sa Congress bago mag-plenary,” Año said.
(We will provide the lower chamber a copy. The inclusion of the barangays are currently in process. We promise to submit this to Congress before the plenary deliberations.)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.