National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Tuesday said political will is needed to fight the communist terrorists which is the biggest political threat in the Philippines.
Esperon, who is also National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) vice chair, issued this statement after the Senate slashed the proposed PHP28.12 billion budget of the task force to just PHP4 billion for 2022.
Earlier, Senator Sonny Angara, Senate committee on finance chair, said they took the bulk of the NTF-ELCAC’s budget and realigned to fund pandemic response programs.
“While I understand that Covid-19 is the clear and present danger that we have to address, I hope they recognize the scourge that has caused stunted growth of the countryside and in effect of the nation. We have spent almost a trillion to combat Covid-19, let’s have the political will to fight the long standing number one political security threat in our country,” Esperon added.
He also hopes that the senators understand that they are addressing a 53-year insurgency led by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“I also hope that our Senators will take to heart the plight of people in the barangays affected by the prolonged conflict,” Esperon said.
Earlier, the NTF-ELCAC said it is allocating PHP20 million each for 1,406 barangays cleared of communist terrorist influence under its Barangay Development Project (BDP) this coming 2022.
The P20 million allocated per barangay will be spent for BDP core projects like farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, livelihood programs, and health stations.