PCG vows ‘good use’ of realigned secret fund from Sara Duterte’s offices
MANILA, Philippines — Confidential funds of offices helmed by Vice President Sara Duterte which lawmakers plan to realign to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will be put to good use.
This was the assurance given by PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Commodore Jay Tarriela, following moves at the lower chamber to allocate the requested secret funds of Duterte’s Office of the Vice President (OVP) and Department of Education (DepEd) to the budget of coast guard and other agencies protecting the West Philippine Sea.
For 2024, the OVP is asking for P500 million while DepEd is asking for P150 million in confidential and intelligence funds. Vice President Duterte is also serving as Secretary of the DepEd in a concurrent capacity. In total, Duterte’s offices are requesting P650 million in secret funds, which may not be subjected to a government audit, for next year.
“Napaka-diverse ng function ng coast guard since we are an archipelagic country; maraming paglalaanan at sigurado po ako na malayo ang mararating ng pondo na ilalagay sa Philippine Coast Guard,” Tarriela said Monday during an interview over DWPM.
(The function of the coast guard is very diverse since we are an archipelagic country; there is a lot of allocation and I am sure that the funds that will be put into the Philippine Coast Guard will go a long way.)
“It is unfortunate that we hear, and I also saw social network comments, they’re even criticizing kung saan ba daw dadalhin ng coast guard itong realigned confidential fund (about where the coast guard plans to take this realigned confidential fund),” he added.
Aside from guarding the West Philippines, Tarriela pointed out that the PCG also deals with maritime safety and maritime pollution, and enforces maritime laws against piracy at sea, armed robbery, illegal smuggling and drug trafficking at sea, among others.
“Most of the time, we only appreciate the coast guard for the West Philippine Sea but we forgot some of its core functions,” he said.