By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that the proposed P4.5-billion allocation being sought by the Office of the President (OP) for its confidential and intelligence funds is necessary to address internal and external security issues that the country is facing.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement days after it was reported that the OP sought to double its confidential and intelligence funds for next year.
Based on the proposed budget submitted last week, the OP is looking to allot P2.25 billion each for its confidential and intelligence expenses. In the past fiscal years, the OP only requested P1.25 billion for each of its confidential and intelligence expenses.
In a radio interview, Nograles explained that the government would need more funding to strengthen the country’s internal and external security.
The former lawmaker explained that the country’s internal security issues included local insurgency, terrorists, armed groups, and the martial law in Mindanao. Monitoring the country’s borders, meanwhile, fall under external security issues.
He said the funds in the OP will also serve as a back-up in case the police and military would need more funds for their intelligence.
“Yung ating security forces, merong kani-kanilang intel funds ‘yan sila. Pero meron ding intel funds na naka-lodge sa Office of the President para kung mangangailangan pa ng additional funds, magagamit mo yung intel funds ng pangulo (Our security forces have their own intel funds but the OP has it as well so if they would request for additional funds, you can use the one that the President has),” Nograles explained.
“With the rising threats of terrorism, the threats of internal and external threats, so importante talaga na meron tayong mapagkukunan na (It is important that we have a source for our) intelligence and confidential funds,” he added.
Nograles then said that the government, so far, has been successful in securing the country.
“In fact, because of our intel funds, because of our intel operations, medyo (it seems), we’re being successful now sa ating (in our) anti-insurgency movements natin, anti-insurgency measures natin,” he said.
“Itong (The) Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, ni-localize na rin natin. Meron ng mga regional. Budget and programs na ginagawa sa bawat region. Meron ding mga local peace talks na nangyayari (we’ve localized it and its regional offices require a budget for their programs. We also have the localized peace talks),” he added.
“So all of these, entail also some sort of expenses also in the part of government. So ito yung mga kinakailangan natin to ensure na mananatili ang peace and order natin sa ating bansa (We need this to ensure that we maintain the peace and order in our country),” he continued.