National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the anti-insurgency fund was used for good governance and not as a pork barrel.
In a regular virtual press conference titled “Tagged: Debunking Lies By Telling The Truth” last July 16, Esperon said bulk of the P19 billion total budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) fund had been allocated for the Barangay Development Program (BDP).
The BDP is the government’s counter-insurgency plan which aims to deliver various government programs in conflict-afflicted and geographically isolated villages that have been considered “cleared” from the influence of communist rebels.
Esperon said about 822 identified barangays nationwide have received PHP20 million each that they can use for the implementation of various developmental projects in their areas such as farm-to-market roads, classrooms, water and sanitation systems, health stations, and livelihood projects.
“The funds for the Barangay Development Program are directly released to the provincial and the city governments who will undertake, administer or contract out the BDP projects. That’s the bulk of it,” Esperon said.
He refuted Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’s earlier statement that the 2022 anti-insurgency fund could be used “as a huge campaign kitty for next year’s election.”
Esperon said aside from funds allocated for the BDPs, there are also funds given to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) including the National Security Council, to pursue other developmental projects that will ensure the total dismantling of communist terrorist group’s (CTG) guerrilla fronts in the far-flung communities.
“Why would he say that it (fund) is not needed anymore? I have recently visited Sorsogon for a groundbreaking, because in the Bicol Region today, they have 49 barangays allocated with P20 million each, these are former guerrilla centers or strongholds,” Esperon said.