Gov't prioritizing funding for NTF-ELCAC anti-insurgency program over ECQ 'ayuda'?

Published August 1, 2021, 5:33 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday, August 1 expressed his disappointment at the government for prioritizing funding for the anti-insurgency program while it is scrambling for funds for the special amelioration program or ‘ayuda.’

Drilon noted the P16.3-billion lodged under the heavily-criticized National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), could have been used instead for the much-needed cash aid that can put food on the table of around 4.2 million Filipino families who experienced hunger during the pandemic.

He also noted that the funds, P4-billion of which went to Davao region, could benefit four million Filipino families when Metro Manila and other regions revert to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting from Aug. 6 to 20.

“It is obvious that the government is giving priority to anti-insurgency over the need for ayuda and other health and social needs of our country necessary for us to move forward with our pandemic response,” Drilon pointed out in an interview over Radio DZBB.

Drilon said this strengthens his resolve to reject additional funds for the NTF-ELCAC and call for a budget for “ayuda” in the 2022 national budget.

“We must provide for SAP, not for anti-insurgency. I would like to see the 2022 national budget to give priority to 4Ps, the social amelioration program or ayuda, the health and education sectors,” Drilon stressed.

Drilon also said he would support moves to generate funds to assist Filipinos and businesses heavily-affected by the pandemic, most especially when the country reverts to ECQ again this month.