MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the slashed budget of the government’s anti-insurgency task force should be restored, as he called on voters to replace the senators who cut the agency’s budget.
“Now Congress, I don’t understand it. Pwede ba palitan ninyo ‘yung mga senador? Wala talaga e. Sila ‘yung mga naga…. Ito gituli nila,” he said in a speech in Zamboanga City, making a slashing gesture with his hand.
He was referring to how the Senate cut by as much as P24 billion in the 2022 proposed budget of the National Task Force against Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
“So kailangan ma-restore ‘yan,” he said added.
He said recent developments concerning the Senate made him think twice about retiring from politics, strengthening his resolve to run for senator in the 2022 elections, as he called on voters to elect new leaders in the legislative body.
“Ako nagadalawang isip ko, gusto ko talagang mag-retire. Pero the things evolving now, if we go with the same people whose mindset is… nothing will happen,” the President said.
“You have to elect new leaders high time. Replace them. This is true because if you elect the same, nothing will happen. It’s all just empty promises, pointless investigations, basta lang kumaklak diyan,” he added.
Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy for senator in the 2022 elections under the Pederalismo ng Dakilang Dugong Samahan (PDDS), an allied party of the supposed dominant political group PDP-Laban.
The proposed reduction in the NTF-Elcac budget comes as senators hinted at the failure of the task force to account for its P19.1-billion funding in 2021.