MANILA — Government has completed only 1 percent of barangay development projects meant to curb insurgency, the interior department said, adding that the program was still "on time."
Of 2,318 projects for 822 barangays cleared of communist rebels, about 44 percent or 1,031 percent are in the procurement stage. Construction is ongoing for another 29 percent or 661 projects, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told officials in a taped meeting that aired on Tuesday.
Only 31 projects or 1 percent have been completed, he said.
Año noted the P16.4-million budget for the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) is valid until December 2022.
"On time, on schedule naman po tayo," he said.
(We are on time, on schedule.)
"Karamihan sa mga proyekto ay infrastructure projects at ang lahat ng ito ay matatapos at mapapakinabangan ng ating mamamayan bago pa man po matapos ang inyong termino," Año told President Rodrigo Duterte, who steps down in June 2022.
(Most of these are infrastructure projects and will be completed and used by our citizens before your term ends.)
Año said 1,406 barangays are proposed to be included next year in the SBDP under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
However, the Senate cut down the task force's budget by some P24 billion down to P4 billion.
Año said it was important for SBDP projects to continue, including farm to market roads, health stations, school buildings, water and sanitation facilities, housing projects, agriculture and livelihood, and assistance to indigents.
"Ang mga programang katulad ng SBDP ang susi upang sa wakas ay matuldukan na ang insurhensiya sa ating bansa," he argued.
(Programs like the SBDP are key to ending insurgency in our country.)
Malacañang stands by Año's statement, said Duterte's acting spokesman Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
"Kami po ay nananawagan din po sa Senado na i-reconsider po nila iyang desisyon po nila dahil unang-una, there cannot be peace without development; there cannot be any development without peace. They go hand in hand po, alam po ng ating mga mabubuting senador iyan," he said in a press briefing.
(We urge the Senate to reconsider its decision because there cannot be peace without development; there cannot be any development without peace. They go hand in hand po, our good senators know that.)
The NTF-ELCAC earlier faced calls to be scrapped, following its red-tagging of female celebrities, some lawmakers, and Senate workers, among others.