House panel defers DSWD budget again over red-tagging allegations

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2021 10:31 PM

MANILA—The House Appropriations Committee deferred for a second time the termination of the budget deliberations for 2022 of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

The deferment came upon a motion by minority lawmakers who protested the NCIP head’s alleged red-tagging of lawmakers.

Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat protested a social media post attributed to NCIP executive director Allen Capuyan, a post that allegedly red-tagged her and her colleagues in the progressive bloc. 

"Dahil sa papel ni Allen Capuyan bilang executive director habang spokesperson ng NCIP talagang may conflict of interest. Ginagampanan lang ni Capuyan ang kaniyang papel NTF-ELCAC sa patuloy na pagre-red-tag at humantong doon sa pagpatay ng mga katutubo. Bilang NCIP chair, dapat ipagtanggol niya ang karapatan ng mga katutubo, hindi naninira at nanre-red-tag," Cullamat said. 

Cullamat said she was doing her job scrutinizing the budget. 

"Madame chair, ginawa lang natin ang trabaho sa Kongreso bilang halal na representante na busisiin ang budget at bantayan ang pondo ng taongbayan. Ngunit dahil sa paggampan natin sa ating tungkulin, mismo si Allen Capuyan ay pinaratangan tayo na mga terorista. Sabi niya 'yung communist terrorist group sa Congress," Cullamat added.

"Madame chair, hindi po atake 'yung pagbusisi ng mga budget. Hindi po ito katanggap-tanggap, kaya ganito ang dahilan nag-move ako na i-defer ang panukalang budget ng NCIP," she also said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Probinsiyano AKO Rep. Jose Bonito Singson backed Cullamat’s motion.

"Sinusuportahan po ng kinatawang ito ang manifestasyon ni Ka Femya Cullamat dahil po sa pambabastos at hindi sinasagot ni Chairman Capuyan 'yung dapat tinatanong sa kaniya sa budget kundi ang kaniyang ginagawa dito ay atakeng direkta sa mga miyembro ng Kongreso, miyembro ng minorya at miyembro ng Makabayan bloc na tinagurian niyang Communist terrorist groups dito sa Kongreso," Zarate said. 

Zarate demanded an apology from Capuyan. 

"Humihingi kami, we demand a public apology from this chair ng NCIP na ang kaniya talaga namang papel ay mas 'yung pagiging NTF-ELCAC niya na nanre-red-tag," he added.

"Sa nakaraang pagdinig nitong budget DSWD ay napakarami pa nilang dapat sagutin sa mga miyembro ng Kongresong ito kaya I move to defer specifically the budget of NCIP as well as the entire budget of the DSWD."

Singson seconded the motions, which were granted.

Last Wednesday, the DSWD budget was held up a first time due to the lateness of the hour and the failure of the agency’s officials to answer some lawmakers' questions.

The NCIP is an attached agency of the DSWD.

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