SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan added his voice to the growing clamor to rechannel the P19-billion anti-insurgency fund to assist those devastated by typhoons Quinta and Rolly.
The multi-billion budget is lodged in the proposed 2021 budget under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“Marami-raming food packs, tahanan, daanan, tulay, classroom ang maaabot ng 19-bilyong-pisong halaga ng anti-insurgency budget para sa mga nasalanta sa Bicol, Southern Luzon at iba pang mga probinsya,” Pangilinan said.
“Gamitin natin ang pondong ito para masagip ang mga kapwa nating Pilipino na walang-wala na ngayon,” he added.
The senator said the fund may also be used to augment the calamity fund and quick response fund of some provinces that have already been depleted amid the quarantine period due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Several local government unit executives have said that response to the calamity has been hobbled by the lack of funds, which have been previously used for COVID-19.
Pangilinan noted that the NTF-ELCAC has also been hounded by criticisms amid reports of fake surrenders and red-tagging as authorities carry out the government’s campaign against insurgents.
“We should be allocating and spending our meager resources to save lives, not endanger lives,” he said.
Earlier, Pangilinan said the Department of Budget and Management should immediately replenish the depleted Quick Reaction Funds (QRF) of Bicol and Southern Tagalog so they could respond to the needs of families and communities severely affected by Typhoon Rolly.
As of posting time, 590 sacks of rice the senator bought from the National Food Authority are being delivered to those impacted by the typhoons in Bicol.