Solons open to redirect CIFs to defenders of West PH Sea
MANILA, Philippines — Leaders of six political parties in the House of Representatives have expressed their willingness to reallocate confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) to security agencies responsible for surveillance activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
The lawmakers’ decision came after the Chinese Coast Guard installed a floating barrier southeast of Bajo de Masinloc off the coast of Zambales last September 22.
“Given recent provocative incidents in the contested areas, we have decided to reallocate – as part of the budget process – confidential and intelligence funds to other agencies chiefly responsible for intelligence and surveillance such as the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, National Security Council, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources,” lawmakers said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
“Recognizing the rising security threats in the West Philippine Sea and the need to secure top officials, these agencies are better positioned to counteract security threats, protect our territorial waters, and secure the rights and access of Filipino fishermen to traditional fishing grounds,” they added.
Among the lawmakers who signed the joint statement were Rizal 1st District Representative Michael John Duavit, Surigao del Sur 2nd District Representative Johnny Pimentel, Romblon Lone District Representative Eleandro Madrona, Agusan del Norte 1st District Representative Jose “Joboy” Aquino II, BHW Party-list Representative Angelica Natasha Co, Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte.
According to the lawmakers, the decision “underscores the need to ensure that resource allocation aligns with national priorities and the urgent needs of the citizenry.”
They likewise supported PCG’s decision to remove the barriers at Scarborough Shoal and its dedication to “standing up for the rights of our Filipino fishermen.”