Lawmaker questions MMDA's proposed P21 million intel funds

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2023 06:07 PM | Updated as of Sep 26 2023 08:04 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) -- A lawmaker questioned on Tuesday the proposed P21 million intelligence funds for the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) next year.

During the plenary debates on MMDA’s proposed 2024 budget at the House of Representatives, 1-RIDER Party List Representative Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez asked the need for such funding. 

MMDA’s budget sponsor Caloocan City 2nd District Representative Mary Mitzi Cajayon-Uy explained that the agency is part of the Metro Manila Network Against Terrorism, adding that the intel funds are also used to identify "colorum" vessels and corrupt MMDA personnel.

“Bakit may intelligence funds ang MMDA? Are we engaged in intelligence and counter intelligence?” Gutierrez asked.

“Ang Metro Manila Development ay part ng MNAT (Metro Manila Network Against Terrorism) at NTF-ELCAC. Ginagamit ito (intelligence fund) sa panghuhuli ng mga colorum at mga tiwaling empleyado,” Cajayon-Uy replied.

"That is surprising… Thank you for that admission… That is something that I think we really have to review,” Gutierrez said.

Cajayon-Uy clarified that MMDA’s intelligence funds are not sourced from the national budget, but locally funded by the Metro Manila Council.

The House of Representatives suspended on Tuesday the consideration of MMDA’s proposed 2024 budget, on the motion of Gutierrez.

“Lahat ito (proposed 2024 budget for MMDA) flood control and intelligence funds… We feel that we are not satisfactorily answered. On behalf of the minority, this representation moves to suspend consideration of the proposed budget of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority until our questions are satisfactorily answered,” he said.

After a couple of hours, the lower chamber resumed the plenary debates on MMDA’s proposed budget and terminated it Tuesday night.