NTF-Elcac budget restored to P10 billion by bicam
MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-Elcac) budget for next year has been restored to its original P10 billion.
The development came after the Congress’ Bicameral Conference Committee on Monday reconciled the disagreeing portions of House Bill No. 4488 or the 2023 General Appropriations Act.
“We restored the budget, everything. Almost P10 billion ‘yun,” House appropriations panel chair and Ako Bicol Representative Zaldy Co said in an interview with reporters.
Asked where the funding was sourced, Senator Sonny Angara, the Senate finance committee chairperson, replied that there was a pool of funds.
“May pool ‘yun. We cannot specifically say na it was realigned from this agency kasi what we do is we source tapos ini-spread na lang namin kung saan kailangan kasi fungible ‘yun. Kumbaga may pool ka na dadagdag sa kung saan-saan na lang,” he explained in the same interview.
(There was a pool. We cannot specifically say it was realigned from this agency because what we do is source funds and spread them to where they are needed because it is fungible. You have a pool that could be added anywhere.)
Earlier, the House bicameral committee planned to restore the funds removed from the NTF-Elcac despite lagging in accomplishing its projects.
Co shared that only 2 percent of the task force’s projects have been completed or are ongoing this year, while 98 percent are in the pre-procurement or procurement stage.
Despite the slow project completion, House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Deputy Senior Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos instructed to reinstate the budget, said Co, citing NTF-Elcac’s role in helping end insurgency in the country.
Meanwhile, the bicameral panel approved the consolidated version of the proposed P5.268-trillion 2023 budget, which contains the reconciled versions from the Senate and House of Representatives.
The reconciled version would be sent to the plenary of both houses for ratification.
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