More lawmakers are pushing to have the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) audited, with some wanting the agency’s budget to be reallocated.
According to Deputy Speaker Michael Romero, he is pushing for a congressional inquiry into how NTF-ELCAC using its budget for the fiscal year 2021.
“We want NTF-ELCAC officials to give details as to where and how the funds are being used and how their vilification tactics translate to having more communist rebels turning their backs on insurgency,” Romero said.
“The rampant unlawful profiling and obvious red-tagging of organizers of community pantries by officials of the NTF-ELCAC are simply too wicked to be ignored by the Members of this august chamber,” he added.
Romero said the bulk of the NTF-ELCAC budget could be reallocated to providing more direct financial aid to displaced workers, improving contact tracing, and providing more hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
“Some may also go to the upgrading the capabilities of our armed forces and the Philippine Coast Guard to guard our maritime borders,” he said.
Meanwhile, Misamis Oriental Representative Juliette Uy also asked the Commission on Audit and the National Privacy Commission to immediately audit NTF-ELCAC.
More solons want to audit budget of NTF-ELCAC
“‘Yung Congressional investigation supported by the findings of COA and Privacy Commission, maaaring magbunsod sa rechanneling ng NTF-ELCAC to augment COVID-19 response of the government o pagbuwag sa NTF-ELCAC altogether, depende sa kalalabasan ng imbestigasyon,” she said.
(The House inquiry, supported by the findings of COA and NPC, can result in rechanneling the funds of NTF-ELCAC to augment the government’s COVID-19 response or to abolish the task force.)
“The audits are fact-finding measures consistent with the oversight authority of Congress as provided in the 1987 Constitution,” she added.
ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo shared the same sentiment towards the budget of NTF-ELCAC.
“The recent actions of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (spokesman) Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade against community pantry organizers is an impetus to Congress and Malacañang to review the use of NTF-ELCAC’s 19 billion peso budget,” she said.
“The random suspicion of communist threats without sufficient basis is evidence of poor utilization of available funds,” she added.