Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Saturday his committee did not touch the proposed 2021 P19-billion budget for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Angara said the budget is to be used by the task force for 800 barangays that experienced armed conflict between government forces and armed communist insurgents.
He anchored his position on the experience of his Aurora home province where government later threw its resources to insurgency-hit areas such as road construction.
This government effort enticed the people to support the government, he added.
Hermogenes Esperon, national security adviser, stressed the importance of the P19-billion budget when he appeared recently before the Senate Committee on National Defense public hearing on the controversial ‘’red-tagging’’ issue.
NTF-ELCAC wanted the funds for towns and barangay with insurgency programs by using them for infrastructure and livelihood programs.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros sought a reallocation of a portion of the P19-billion budget for disaster recovery programs such as super typhoon ‘’Rolly.’’
Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon rejected the P19-billion appropriation because it might just disappear in corruption holes.