By Genalyn Kabiling
The government intends to hire more policemen and purchase modern defense equipment next year to enhance efforts on building a more secure and peaceful country.
In the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte said the government would give the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) P225.6 billion for the hiring of additional police, fire and jail personnel next year.
The Department of National Defense (DND), on the other hand, will receive P183.4 billion next year for priority programs, including the P25-billion modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“Ensuring the internal security of the country and maintaining public order and safety in our communities have been the hallmark of my governance. We have been successful in our campaign but we will not sit on our laurels,” the President said in his budget message to Congress.
“We will continue our vigilance in order to thwart attempts by lawless elements to wreak havoc on our helpless countrymen,” he added.
The proposed 2019 national budget was submitted to Congress last Monday for review and approval.
From the DILG budget, Duterte said P3 billion would fund the creation of 10,000 Police Officer 1 positions; P803 million for 3,000 Fire Officer 1 positions; and P576 million for 2,000 Jail Officer 1 positions.
He said the proposed budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP) would also fund the acquisition of equipment under its Capability Enhancement Program amounting P5.4 billion; construction of police stations at P330 million, and provision of operational requirements of provincial, city, municipal and district police stations at P3.43 billion.
Around P1.7 billion will also be set aside for the provision of rice subsidy for the PNP (P1.4 billion), Bureau of Fire Protection (P188 million), and the Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology (P94 million).
To ensure just and lasting peace, the President said the government has raised the budget of the DND to P183.4 billion in 2019 from this year’s P150 billion.
The defense budget will fund daily the priority programs of the Philippine Army with P89 billion; Philippine Air Force, P24.6 billion; Philippine Navy, P27.8 billion; and General Headquarters, P36.4 billion.
“We will also continue to support the Revised AFP Modernization Program of the DND-GHQ with a proposed budget of P25 billion for 2019,” Duterte said.
Meantime, the government has proposed P37.3 billion for the judiciary, that includes P20.2 billion for the “independent, effective, and efficient administration of justice.”
Around P1.3 billion will also fund the construction and rehabilitation of halls of justice across the country.
Duterte said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to intensify its efficient administration of justice with a P21.4 billion budget for 2019. Of this amount, P6 billion will be allocated for the DOJ investigation, witness protection and prosecution services.