Mindanao solon lauds House decision to realign intel funds
MANILA, Philippines — South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Peter Miguel on Tuesday said that the House of Representatives’ decision to realign the confidential funds (CF) of different government offices is correct, as defense-oriented agencies would need these the most.
Miguel insisted that even with critics calling them out, the House did what was needed to do — place P1.23 billion worth of proposed CF for 2024 to items related to the West Philippine Sea.
Last October 10, the House formally removed the entire CF requests of the Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“Regardless of the differing opinions – whether pro or anti-government – I firmly believe that we, in the House of Representatives, made the correct choice by reprioritizing these confidential and intelligence funds, originally allocated to agencies like DA, DFA, OVP, DICT, and DepEd, to enhance our national security efforts and safeguard our Philippine territory,” Miguel said on Monday.
“From my perspective, this Congress bears the moral authority to address the public and reassure hard-working Filipino taxpayers, who contribute to the government’s funds, including confidential funds, that this reallocation serves the greater purpose of protecting our nation,” he added.
Under the House’ version of the General Appropriations Bill, the following CF requests for 2024 were removed:
- OVP: P500 million
- DICT: P300 million
- DepEd: P150 million
- Department of Justice (DOJ-Office of the Secretary): P88.65 million
- Office of the Ombudsman: P50.46 million
- DA: P50 million
- DFA: P50 million
- Bureau of Customs (BOC): P30.5 million
- Office of the Solicitor General (OSG): P9.2 million
- Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU): P6 million
- Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC): P2.5 million
The removal of the CF under OVP and DepEd, which are both headed by Vice President Sara Duterte, drew flak from her supporters and allies.
No less than the Vice President’s father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, came out to criticize the House.
In an interview with Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), the elder Duterte accused the House of being the most rotten government organization, saying that it has a pork barrel that Speaker Ferdinand martin Romualdez distributes to lawmakers.
Miguel lauded the House for taking action even if that action is unpopular.
“What truly matters to me is that the Lower Chamber took the right course of action, irrespective of its popularity,” he said.
“I am proud to stand in solidarity with the institution that embodies the spirit of being a ‘House of the People.’ I wholeheartedly support the House of Representatives and its esteemed House Leaders headed by Speaker Ferdinand G. Martin Romualdez,” he added.
Aside from Miguel, several lawmakers have expressed support for Romualdez’ leadership of the House.
On Monday, the Visayan bloc in the House — composed of at least 34 lawmakers — signed a manifesto backing Romualdez’ actions.
“We, the Visayan Bloc Members, would like to express our unwavering and resolute support for the esteemed Speaker from the Visayas, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez,” the manifesto read.