Agencies without intel functions should get zero confidential fund — Lagman
MANILA, Philippines — Agencies not entitled to receive any confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) should really not have any allocation in that category for the proposed 2024 national budget, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said on Wednesday.
Lagman, in a statement, said there were reports that instead of totally removing the CIF from agencies not entitled to these funds, it will only be reduced as an “accommodation” to these offices.
“All agencies not entitled to confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) because of the nature of their functions and the extent of their mandate must be deprived of secret funds in their entirety, and a mere reduction must not suffice,” Lagman said.
“There is no rhyme nor reason for an agency not entitled to CIFs to retain any appropriation at all as an ‘accommodation’ or ‘courtesy’ allocation,” he added.
According to Lagman, agencies that originally did not need the CIF should be deprived of such appropriations.
“Non-entitlement to CIFs is absolute, and deprivation of appropriation must be total,” he noted.
Lagman said this a week after House Committee on Appropriations chair and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co said that the House leadership is looking at the confidential funds (CF) lodged with the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) as possible sources in augmenting the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) budget.
Co’s commitment came as House leaders decided to push for the realignment of CF to agencies involved in intelligence gathering and securing the West Philippine Sea (WPS) after China’s intrusive activities at the disputed region.
As of now, a small committee is handling the proposed amendments to the proposed 2024 national budget — which includes the CIF of the different agencies like OVP and DepEd.
Co has appealed for more patience from people who are awaiting the final version of the House’s General Appropriations Bill (GAB), as the small committee is still discussing a lot of possible amendments to the line items.
House Bill No. 8980 was passed on the third reading last September 27, but the House version of the GAB will be produced only after the small committee finalizes amendments.
According to Co, they have been authorized to conduct hearings until October 10, or Tuesday next week, before they finalize the amendments.