Army defends hike in budget of controversial militia unit
THE INCREASE in the proposed budget for the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) is not meant for hiring new recruits but to cover the increased daily subsistence allowance of its members.
The Philippine Army explained that just like regular soldiers, Cafgu members were entitled to a P150 daily subsistence allowance, up to P4,650 a month.
“The increase in the Cafgu budget is due to the increase in the daily subsistence allowance of the military that started this year and not because of new recruits,” said Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesperson.
Media reports said lawmakers wanted to channel the proposed P3.4-billion budget for the Cafgu and separation benefits to the budget of 59 state colleges and universities.
As of August, there were 53,004 Cafgu members deployed to 14 Army battalions, from an initial strength of 56,000 at the start of the year.
The Cafgu is a government creation, a controversial quasi-military force tasked with keeping out of their localities any insurgency, often, critics charge, by foul means.
Under the 2015 national budget, no new Cafgus shall be recruited and the cost of training existing Cafgus shall be scaled down in view of their planned demobilization with the implementation of the military modernization program.
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