MANILA — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) disclosed on Friday it was eyeing around P40 billion for next year's development fund for barangays cleared of insurgency.
The agency will ask lawmakers to allot the budget under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
The funding will include P20 million each for about 2,000 barangays which were previously “influenced” by rebels because of underdevelopment or government neglect, he told a forum.
These barangays will get farm-to-market roads, schools, houses, health centers, electrification, and livelihood programs from the funding, Año said.
“Kung papayagan tayo ng [lower house of] Congress at Senate, napakalaking bagay ito para sa ating mga barangay. Ito talaga ‘yong solving the insurgency, dealing on the causes,” said the official.
(If the House and the Senate allow us, this will be a big deal for our barangays. This is how you solve insurgency, dealing with its causes.)
This year, around P16.4 billion out of the NTF-ELCAC's budget was earmarked for the development fund of some 800 barangays.
Año said 99 percent of the development budget has been disbursed to local governments.
"The money is intact," he said.
Some critics earlier called for NTF-ELCAC to be defunded for red-tagging or linking to the communist movement several female celebrities and lawmakers, without presenting proof.