Hontiveros backs reallocation of secret funds to PCG: ‘Deserve na deserve’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said she fully supports the proposed reallocation of confidential and intelligence funds to government agencies that protect and defend the Philippines.
This comes after Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri disclosed that similar to the pronouncement of the Congress’ lower chamber, the Senate will also transfer confidential and intelligence funds from selected government agencies to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“Deserve na deserve nila ang dagdag na suportang ito,” said Hontiveros in a statement.
(They really deserve this additional support.)
“Masaya ako dahil tumitibay na talaga ang ating panawagan noong nakaraang Agosto na palakasin ang kakayahan ng PCG, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) at ng ibang ahensya,” she added.
(I am glad that our calls in August to strengthen the capabilities of PCG, NICA, and other agencies have been strengthened.)
According to Hontiveros, these agencies really need bigger funding in order to protect the country’s natural resources, the livelihood of Filipinos, as well as the “future” of the country.
“Hindi talaga kasi tama na yung mga civilian agency na walang direktang kinalaman sa national security, pero may P500 million na confidential fund, habang ang PCG na nagbabantay sa buong WPS, pagkakasyahin ang P10 million na confidential funds sa 2024,” she stressed.
(It’s wrong that civilian agencies that are not related to national security have a P500 million confidential fund, while the PCG guards over the entire WPS but was only given P10 million confidential funds in 2024.)
Noting that confidential and intelligence funds should only be given to agencies mandated to “uphold national security,” Hontiveros said the proposed increase in PCG, among others, is “the right track.”
Meanwhile, in an ambush interview on Wednesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said they have yet to discuss which specific agencies whose budgets they will cut or slash.
Villanueva, however, noted that it would likely affect civilian agencies.
“Ayokong magsalita ng numero, but probably yung mga civilian authorities. ‘Di ba? Parang alam na natin ito ba dapat bigyan. Ayaw natin and I think some of my colleagues or most of my colleagues are saying hindi dalawa bente-singko ang intelligence fund. Sa amin sa Bulacan kapag sinabing dalawa bente-singko, halos libre na yun. Anyone can actually ask for it. So hindi po,” Villanueva explained.
(I don’t want to say a number, but probably the civilian authorities. It’s like we already know if these should be given confidential allocation. We don’t want it and I think some of my colleagues or most of my colleagues are saying that the intelligence fund is not something anyone can ask for, like it’s free. So no.)
Villanueva added that they are now warning agencies not to blatantly ask for secret funds. Otherwise, he noted, their request will be scrutinized.
“[W]e just want accountability and ensure that this is needed,” he added.