Senate President Vicente Sotto III did not support the proposal of his fellow senators to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) amid the alleged red-tagging of community pantry organizers.
“I believe the program is good. Defunding it would give back the gains of [government] to the rebels,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.
“We should not be hasty in blaming a good program because of irresponsible statements from some officials. Replace the officials instead,” he added.
Senator Joel Villanueva tweeted his dismay over NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr.’s who compared a community pantry to Satan. The senator also proposed to defund NTF-ELCAC.
“Oh my! We should move to defund NTF-ELCAC in the next budget. Sayang lang pera ng taong bayan,” Villanueva said.
“Reallocate the current P19 [billion] budget for ayuda. Mas kailangan ito ng taumbayan kaysa sa mga ganitong kalokohan!” he added.
Sotto eyes replacing officials of NTF-ELCAC amid recent red-tagging issue
Villanueva was pertaining to the P19 billion fund for the NTF-ELCAC under the 2021 national budget. Of the amount, P16.4 billion was allocated to support barangay development programs.
Parlade told One News on Tuesday night that a community pantry is like an apple that Satan had offered to Eve.
“Si Satan, binigyan ng apple si Eve, dun lang nagsimula yun, dun lang nagsimula yun
Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian agreed to Villanueva’s tweet.
“I agree bro. If these are the kind of people who will spend hard-earned taxpayer’s money, then it’s not worth it,” Gatchalian replied to Villanueva’s tweet.
On Wednesday night, Senator Nancy Binay also proposed the review of the agency’s budget.
“Right now for me, budget season is coming. I will really make sure that we’ll be addressing the budget for the NTF-ELCAC. Maybe, it’s high-time that we really review their budget,” Binay said on CNN Philippines.
Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte also slammed the National Task Force on Ending the Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for allegedly sowing fear among community pantry organizers which were set up around the city.