Makabayan solon: Sara Duterte can control more intel funds as NTF-Elcac vice chair
MANILA, Philippines — Makabayan lawmaker France Castro on Thursday slammed the appointment of Vice President Sara Duterte as the vice chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), saying that she would have more control over confidential and intelligence funds (CIF).
Duterte also serves as the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) on top of being vice president. She was granted a budget of P150 million for her CIF.
READ: DepEd to keep its P150-million intel funds in 2023 budget
“With her appointment as the co-vice chairperson of the [NTF-Elcac] Vice Pres. Sara Duterte could have discretion over more confidential and intelligence funds aside from the Department of Education and Office of the Vice President that she already controls,” said Castro, who represents the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) partylist.
According to Castro, the CIF allows government agencies to move secretly without accountability from the public.
“Yan ang problema sa NTF-Elcac at whole-of-nation approach, magagamit talaga ang buwis ng taumbayan sa mga di magandang gawain na walang ideya ang mamamayan for what, how, when, who and where exactly. Mamamalayan mo na lang mataas na ang incidences ng red-tagging and all its companion human rights violations like extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and harassment of critics,” she said.
(That is the problem with the NTF-Elcac and the whole-of-nation approach, the people’s tax money will be used in unacceptable ways and the citizens have no idea for what, how, when, who and where exactly. Then you just notice that there is a high incidence of red-tagging and all its companion human rights violations like extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and harassment of critics.)
Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel also aired out his concerns on Duterte’s appointment, saying that DepEd still needs to resolve many issues, such as the lack of classrooms and low wages for teachers.
“Di ito magandang pangitain para sa academic freedom at pagtanggol sa mga ahensyang sibilyan mula sa pagiging militarisado. Dapat mapagpalaya, di mapanupil, ang edukasyon,” he said.
(This is not a good sight for academic freedom and civil agencies from militarization. Education must be free, and unoppressive.)
Duterte and the Makabayan bloc had repeatedly feuded in the past, with the Vice President alleging that the group has Communist ties, but without further elaboration or proof.