Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri supports the proposal to realign some of the P19-billion fund allocated for the government’s anti-insurgency fund to address the country’s more pressing needs, particularly aid for typhoon victims.
Zubiri said he is amenable to suggestion of the Senate minority bloc who have called on lawmakers to boost the government’s funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the calamities brought about by typhoons “Quinta,” “Rolly,” and “Ulysses” by realigning some of the funds of the National Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict and using it for these rehabilitation and relief programs.
“Magandang idea ‘yan. Ako bumisita ako on the ground, nakita ko pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin (That’s actually a good idea. I visited these places on the ground, and I really saw the needs of our fellowmen),” Zubiri said in an interview over radio DZRH.
“If there is funding for rehab, welcome ‘yan sa akin, pero di naman buong halaga dahil may barangays din na nangangailangan ng development para kontrahin ang insurgency sa kanilang lugar (I welcome that suggestion, but I suggest not the whole amount, because there are still communities in need of development to counter insurgency in their places),” Zubiri said.
Zubiri said he believes that countryside and community development can help address local insurgency, not only those launched by the communist front but by bandits as well.
“Hatiin siguro natin. Gawan natin ng paraan. Pero huwag naman lahat (ng pondo). Long-term ang kailangan natin. (Maybe we can divide the amount. Let’s do something. But let’s not realign all the funds. We still need a long-term solution).”
“Kailangan natin i-discuss ito sa DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), paano ba ang long-term solution kasi iba-iba ang problema (We need to discuss this with the DPWH, what can we do as a long-term solution, because each province has a different problem),” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had earlier said that the proposed P19-billion allocation for the NTF-ELCAC showed the government’s skewed priorities under the proposed P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021.
Drilon said it would be best for the government to postpone the NTF-ELCAC program to 2022 or after the May national and local elections.