Press Release
May 4, 2021

Drilon questions 'speedy' release of P10.6-B out of P19-B NTF-ELCAC fund amid calls to realign it to COVID-19 response

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon questioned the government's spending priorities amid the pandemic and criticized why the country's controversial anti-insurgency program is given priority in the release of the budget amid tight government resources.

Citing the data from the Department of Budget and Management, Drilon said the total fund releases for the National Task Force to End Local Communism and Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has already reached P10.68 billion as of April 2021. NTF-ELCAC has a total appropriation of P19 billion under the 2021 General Appropriations Act and of which, P16.4 billion will go to its Barangay Development Program wherein each of over 800 barangays will receive P20 million.

Drilon said that while the country's ayuda of P8,000 for private sector workers remains a proposal and unfunded, NTF-ELCAC has received a total of P10.68 billion and of which, P7.54 billion was released in April alone at the height of strong criticisms against the task force's red-tagging of community pantry organizers.

"Bakit po parang nagmadaling ilabas ang budget? Bakit yung pondo sa Marawi rehabilitation mabagal ang paglabas ng pondo? Saan po gagamitin itong P10.68 bilyon?" he asked.

Last March 24, NTF-ELCAC's program received P3.14 billion, Drilon noted.

"Defeating the virus and addressing the effects of the pandemic such as unemployment and hunger should be our priority. There are 62 percent Filipino households who experienced hunger due to COVID-19 pandemic. There are 4.4 million Filipinos who lost jobs in 2020. Yet, the government is giving priority to NTF-ELCAC's anti-insurgency program rather than use the funds to expand ayuda, buy vaccines and feed the poor," Drilon said.

There is a pending Bayanihan 3 measure in Congress that will provide a bigger economic stimulus but its passage is surrounded by uncertainties over the availability funds, Drilon said.

Drilon also questioned the lack of transparency on the budget of NTF-ELCAC as he reiterated his call for the submission of a quarterly report on the utilization of the P19 billion fund as mandated under the 2021 GAA.

The 2021 GAA provides that "the implementing agencies and NTF-ELCAC shall submit to the Office of the President, DBM, House of Representatives and the Senate, either in printed form or by way of electronic document, quarterly reports on the utilization of funds and physical accomplishments."

The Senate chief fiscalizer said the funds were released amid strong opposition from lawmakers, both in the majority and minority blocs in the Senate and the House of Representatives, to realign NTF-ELCAC's P19 billion budget to pandemic response.

Drilon said the Senate should use its oversight function to scrutinize the use of NTF-ELCAC's funds and compel the task force to submit a report to Congress.

"Saan po ba napunta ang P10.68 billion? Anong barangay? Anong siyudad o bayan ang nakinabang dito? In the spirit of transparency, let us publish the data and inform the public," Drilon said.

Table: Fund releases for NTF-ELCAC based on DBM website



 Date of Release

21-0001882 980,000,000.00 29-Apr
21-0001846 40,000,000.00 29-Apr
21-0001754 340,000,000.00 23-Apr
21-0001755 15,675,000.00 23-Apr
21-0001695 640,000,000.00 23-Apr
21-0001621 440,000,000.00 23-Apr
21-0001502 1,600,000,000.00 23-Apr
21-0001501 680,000,000.00  23-Apr
21-0001500 120,000,000.00 23-Apr
21-0001380 160,000,000.00  13-Apr
21-0001379 104,325,000.00  13-Apr
21-0001378 1,480,000,000.00 13-Apr
21-0001289 720,000,000.00 13-Apr
21-0001232 60,000,000.00 13-Apr
21-0001054 160,000,000.00 30-Mar
21-0000837 3,139,500,000.00 24-Mar
Total 10,679,500,000.00  


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