Senate to redirect intel, confidential and ‘unnecessary funds’ to PCG, AFP — Zubiri
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will also reallocate intelligence, confidential and “unnecessary funds” from various agencies to the Philippine Coast Guard and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday.
Zubiri made the pronouncement after the Congress’ lower chamber earlier pledged to reallocate such funds to agencies in charge of the West Philippine Sea.
“We have agreed in the Senate to do the same. We also will [be] reallocating funds that we feel are not necessary for the use of certain agencies and allocate them to our Intelligence Community as well as our Coast guard and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Zubiri said in a Viber message shared to reporters.
When asked if it will include the controversial confidential funds from the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education — both of which Vice President Sara Duterte heads, Zubiri responded that all agencies will be reviewed.
Meanwhile, during a Senate committee on finance hearing on the proposed 2024 national expenditure program of the Department of National Defense (DND) and attached agencies, Zubiri also committed to Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. that more funding will be allocated to the AFP and DND.
“We already discussed in caucus, that we are going to allot a large chunk of additional funding for the AFP and the DND,” Zubiri said.
“In the proper time, we will be meeting with you all at the executive session on where we will be adding the funds, pero hindi po tayo pumapayag na ma-bully tayo ng ating kapitbahay sa norte, and because of that we hear you loud and clear, we need more defense spending, modernization budget … we’re here to support you and you’ll see a drastic difference in your budget come December,” he added.
(In the proper time, we will meet with you all at the executive session to discuss where we will allocate the funds. However, we disagree to be bullied by our neighbor in the north, and because of that, we hear your concerns loudly and clearly. We understand that there is a need for increased defense spending and a modernization budget. We are here to support you, and you will see a significant improvement in your budget in December.)
Zubiri also vowed to expedite the amendments to Republic Act 9184, or the “Procurement Act,” to allow defense agencies to procure needed equipment of the best quality.