By Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy Spokesperson
Senator Franklin Drilon is suspicious about the 16.4 billion budget for the Barangay Development Program. He asks, “Bakit po parang nagmadaling ilabas ang budget? Bakit yung pondo sa Marawi rehabilitation mabagal ang paglabas ng pondo?”
What we are hearing the good senator say is that he thinks it is laudable for government to be slow in the delivery of services to the poor. And then, after DECADES of making them wait for these services, to make them wait even more.
And when government does its job and moves swiftly, there MUST be something wrong.
What we are hearing him say is that the peg for public service ought to be the peg past administrations followed that crucified the citizens of this country for all time, more so the poorest of the poor: excruciatingly slow, marked with incompetence and corruption.
This administration takes the opposite view –and upon direct orders of this President whose first Executive Order specifically instructed all government agencies to streamline their processes so that the Filipino people may be served well in the soonest possible time.
And always, the ones who have the least in life must have the most from government.
Has this been followed 100% of the time? We will be the first to say no.
But it is an ongoing process of ‘catch up’ for all those years of corruption, incompetence and indifference our people suffered from past administrations.
Time and again, our President has expressed what we, at the NTF ELCAC believe is true: that the poor only have government to help them out of their predicament and then into better, more empowered lives.
And if we are serious about ending this 52-year communist curse, the only answer to this is GOOD GOVERNANCE. Government going to the people and serving them. FINALLY.
The exploitation of the CPP NPA NDF of the most vulnerable sector in our society—to the point where anywhere from 60 to 90% of NPAs are from our indigenous tribes—happened because of government’s abject neglect.
Past administrations knew they were there but it was as if government decided to just forget they existed.
And so for decades they didn’t have the most basic of services: clean water, electricity, schools for their children, decent shelter, roads, etc.
And this made them vulnerable to the lies and manipulations of the terrorist CPP NPA NDF that wreaked havoc and sowed terror in their lives where an untold number of them have died as violent extremists or murdered by these communist terrorists.
It is therefore of utmost importance that government move swiftly to FINALLY end decades of extreme poverty brought about by this communist terrorist group. And this is why the Barangay Development Program is of utmost importance to our people who live in extreme poverty who were once in the grip of the CPP NPA NDF.
It will give them farm-to-market roads, school houses, decent shelter, solar lights, rural electrification, health stations, water and sanitation systems, livelihood projects, reconstruction, vaccination and other forms of assistance.
It will give them a way out of poverty and into empowered lives for themselves and their children.
We are inviting Senator Drilon to explore the NTF ELCAC website and to click on the ‘BDP’ tag so that he may be better informed about a program that has the fullest potential to change the course of our country’s history for better and to unchain it from the grip of this 52-year communist scourge.
In it, he will learn about how the NTF ELCAC/Joint Regional Task Force ELCAC has empowered the poorest of the poor among us to make known their most pressing needs to government and then to own the projects that they themselves chose.
He will also be able to follow progress of ALL projects in these 822 barangays cleared of CPP NPA NDF influence—in REALTIME via geotags.
And he will see a clear breakdown of the 20 million allotted to each barangay—and follow the downloading of funds so that he will be reassured that the corruption that was the hallmark of past Philippine administrations is being beaten to the ground with vigilance and a clear system of transparency and accountability.
As to his question about the quick release of 10.6 billion to the NTF ELCAC, not a single centavo of the 16.4 billion goes to the NTF ELCAC. Money will go straight to the LGUs and implementing agencies with a clear system of accountability.
The timing of its release had nothing to do with the current issues of Senate with the NTF ELCAC and everything to do with budget processes already in place that started with the submission of resolutions of each barangay on or before the March 15 deadline and their subsequent validation then the release of SARO—all above board and beyond reproach.
Also, the release of funds will be per barangay at 20 million each. Not 16.4 billion in one go to the NTF ELCAC.
The sad truth about the 20 million is that it isn’t nearly enough.
And that it is incumbent upon the next administration to continue pouring funds and services to our forgotten brothers and sisters if they are to have any chance at all of making it out of generational poverty.
The only public servant who would deny the poorest of the poor these services is not a real public servant but an impostor who has stayed far too long in the comfort of his plush office –so far removed from the realities of the people he has sworn to serve.
May this kind of public servant vanish from the face of the earth so that our people who are in dire need of government’s care and defense will get them without the outrage of these phoney public servants obstructing the road that leads them to better, dignified lives for themselves and their children.
I am certain Sen. Drilon will agree.