Angara wants focus on gov’t agencies seeking confidential funds
MANILA, Philippines — Of the 17 government agencies asking for confidential funds in the proposed 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP), which ones should be given?
The question was raised by Senator Sonny Angara, chairperson of the Senate’s committee on finance, in an interview over ANC’s Headstart on Monday, stressing that Filipinos should focus more on which agencies should be granted the funds rather than where it will be spent.
“I think part of the objection to confidential funds is that they think [that the agencies] can pocket it and spend it on any whim. But it can only be spent on a limited basis. The question, I guess, is which agencies should be allowed to have it?” said Angara in English and Filipino.
Citing a 2015 joint circular by the Commission on Audit, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of National Defense, Angara said these are the only allowable spending for confidential funds:
Purchase of information
Rental of transport vehicles related to confidential activities
Rental and incidental expenses related to the maintenance of safe houses
Purchase or rental of supplies for confidential operations that cannot be done through regular procedures without compromising the information-gathering activity
Payment of reward to informers
[Uncovering and preventing] illegal activities that pose a clear and present danger to agency personnel and security under security protection done in coordination with the appropriate law government agencies
Other funds that the General Appropriations Act may authorize
“The good news, at least for 2024, is that it has not increased dramatically,” said Angara, pertaining to the proposed confidential funds in 2023 – which was 4.804 billion, and 4.864 billion for 2024.
The seventeen government agencies seeking confidential funds are the Office of the President (P2.2 billion); Office of the Vice President (P500 million); Department of Agriculture (P50 million); Department of Education (P150 million); Department of Environment and Natural Resources (P13.95 million); Department of Finance (P111 million); Department of Foreign Affairs (P50 million); Department of Information and Communications Technology (P300 million); Department of the Interior and Local Government (P100.6 million); Department of Justice (P471.29 million); Department of National Defense (P87 million); Department of Social Welfare and Development (P18 million); Department of Transportation (P5.6 million); Other Executive Offices (P695 million); Commission on Audit (P10 million); Office of the Ombudsman (P51.468 million); and Commission on Human Rights (P1 million).
Meanwhile, in a separate statement issued Monday, Angara said Senate briefings on the proposed 2024 NEP should be finished by mid to late October.
“[Then we will] come up with the committee report to be sponsored in early November,” said the lawmaker.