MANILA -- Makabayan bloc lawmakers said the controversial Barangay Development Program (BDP) funds of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is a form of pork barrel.
At the House Appropriations Committee's hearing on the DILG’s P248.53 billion proposed budget for 2022, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said that the BDP is a form of lump sum pork barrel, which may be prone to misuse and abuse.
Brosas pressed the DILG for an itemization of the BDP funds and a list of the 1,400 barangays that have been identified as recipients of P20 million each for development projects.
She lamented that other lawmakers’ projects have been put on hold because these are not yet ready for implementation.
Elago said a special audit of the barangay development fund and the NTF-ELCAC funds is needed.
DILG Secretary Edurado Año maintained the funds are itemized and submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
"Unang-una po, ang DILG po ay walang discretion sa support to the barangay development funds. Ang pera pong ito ay naka-line items at rekta pong ire-release sa mga LGUs at hindi dadaan sa DILG."
"At hindi rin po siya lump sum sapagkat naka-itemize po ito, hindi pwedeng galawin, baguhin ang programa," he said.
The DILG’s proposed budget for 2022, an election year, is 0.41 percent higher than its 2021 budget.
While its budget is higher over all, their biggest unit, the Philippine National Police (PNP), will see a 0.42 percent budget cut.
Majority of the DILG's budget will fund the pay and allowances of PNP, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and Bureau of Fire Protection personnel.