Two women’s groups hailed the Senate’s move to cut the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) by 86 percent.
On Tuesday, Senator Sonny Angara said the Senate Finance Committee is set to slash the budget of NTF-ELCAC from P28 billion to P4 billion.
In a statement, Amihan Women reiterated its call to rechannel the agency’s budget to palay production, social alleviation, and production subsidy to farmers and peasant women.
“The 24 billion slashed budget should be allocated to palay production that could help 529,777 rice farmers owning a hectare of land and fully subsidize the palay production, with the average cost of production at P45,300 based on government data. Moreover, NTF ELCAC’s remaining P4 billion budget could aid additional 88,296 rice farmers in the country,” Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.
“At present, rice farmers in the country are bearing the brunt of the multi-layered impact from the pandemic, rice liberalization, and price shocks mainly from oil products. These are leading to their displacement, and eventually to the decline of productivity that is sure to lead to food insecurity,” she added.
Amihan also noted the need for P10,000 immediate assistance and P15,000 production subsidy for farmers, peasant women, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers that “remains neglected by the government.”
In a separate statement, Gabriela likewise welcomed the Senate’s decision, however, it maintained its call for the abolition of NTF-ELCAC.
“The government should rechannel budget for state terrorism to P10,000 economic aid for families affected by the worsening crisis in the country.”
Meanwhile, women’s rights advocate and Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) Spokesperson Liza Maza also backed Vice President Robredo’s plan to ditch NTF-ELCAC.
“It is commendable that an opposition candidate and some legislators make a clear and sound argument against the NTF-ELCAC. But likewise, we the people should exhaust all means in stopping its madness as soon as possible — may it be through ballots or marching the streets,” Maza said.
Established on Dec. 18, 2018 through Executive Order 70, NTF-ELCAC aims to institutionalize a “whole-of-nation” approach in ending the communist belligerency in the Philippines.