10 agencies to be affected by confidential fund realignment
September 30, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Around 10 agencies will be affected by the plan of the House of Representatives to realign allocations under the confidential funds, according to House committee on appropriations senior vice chair Stella Luz Quimbo.
Quimbo explained that the chamber is still reviewing the line items for confidential fund in the proposed P5.678-trillion national
budget next year, but so far they are looking at 10 agencies to be affected by the realignment.
Committee chair and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co earlier said that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) Sara Duterte and the Department of Education (DepEd), which she heads, would be stripped of confidential funds.
Under the proposed funding for 2024, confidential funds amounting to P500 million and P150 million were earmarked for OVP and DepEd, respectively.
Such funding will be given, instead, to agencies whose functions are directly related to protecting national security.
The agencies initially identified to benefit from fund realignment are the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), National Security Council (NSC), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
“We are still studying the fund allocations in different agencies. We continue to rationalize the confidential and intelligence fund… So far the affected agencies are 10,” Quimbo said, noting that the confidential fund that will be taken from agencies will be re-allocated to “those that need more.”
“Our priority is to beef up the guardians of the West Philippine Sea, so that’s one and for those agencies that need additional funds for other programs,” she maintained.
But Makabayan bloc yesterday opposed giving additional funding to NICA, NSC, Armed Forced of the Philippines and Department of National Defense (DND), claiming the budget will only be used for red-tagging and other activities violating human rights.
ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro cited the case of environmental activists Jhed Tamano, 22, and Jonila Castro, 21, who were allegedly abducted by the military in Orion, Bataan last Sept. 2. They were released two weeks later.
Castro said the funds should instead be earmarked for social services, which are “auditable.”
She added that for Makabayan bloc, the funds are needed more by the PCG and BFAR as they do patrol duties to protect the country’s territory and marine resources.