Senate to bat for increase in intel funds for ‘West PH Sea defenders’

The Senate will push for a higher intelligence funds for all government agencies that are mandated to defend the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said. 


Zubiri said this includes the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy (PN) which he said should be entitled to full logistical and operational support from the government, including an increase in their confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) in the 2024 national budget, as they are the two agencies responsible for patrolling the country’s maritime territory from China’s illegal activities and encroachment. 


“Because of what is happening in the West Philippine Sea, we want to augment the budget of our soldiers and Navy personnel, especially our Navy and Coast Guard, to strengthen our external defense capabilities so we can have a credible defensive posture,” Zubiri said in an interview on Radio DWIZ. 


Earlier, Zubiri led the Senate in reviving the Select Oversight Committee on Confidential and Intelligence Funds (SOCCIF), which will review the proposed CIFs of some 30 agencies and determine if there is a need to realign some of the funds to better use. 


The Senate leader noted that the CIFs of the PCG and PN are at a measly P10-million and P39.74-million, respectively.


The PCG’s intel funds continued to be at P10-million since 2022, though the agency’s proposed total allocation in the 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) increased to P24.01-billion from P21.92-billion in 2023.


“Once the Senate receives the 2024 national budget from the House of Representatives, they will push for realignments or changes in the CIFs to boost the intelligence capabilities of the PCG and PN,” he said.


“That’s our commitment, there would be changes when it comes to the CIFs. And I think it will be reflected in the outcome of the Senate hearings of the budget,” the Senate leader said.


Sen. Francis Tolentino supported this saying there is an urgent need to create a “single menu” for all the agencies that are tasked to guard the West Philippine Sea. 


“Our Navy, and even our National Security Council (NSC) are also very active and hardworking,” Tolentino said in a separate radio interview on DZBB. 


“So we should have one menu for the agencies that are tasked to guard our WPS,” he stressed.


So dapat po siguro maging - magkaroon ng isang menu para po sa pag babantay sa ating West Philippine Sea.