Lacson: NTF-Elcac funds were ‘prostituted’


THE drastic cuts in the 2022 budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) may still be reconsidered, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Tuesday, but stressed that the country’s security sector must better implement the programs and funds earmarked for it.

The Partido Reporma chairman and standard bearer challenged the officials concerned to make sure the NTF-Elcac funds will not be “prostituted” and used for political ends.

Lacson noted he had vigorously defended the budget and concept of the NTF-Elcac as chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense, but its implementation left him dismayed, which was why lawmakers decided to slash the task force’s budget by P28 billion for 2022.

He observed that “when it comes to implementation that’s where it gets messed up, adding, “even with all the laws we’ve been passing, the problem is always implementation.”

“You know, the authorities… the executive department, particularly the security sector —the PNP [Philippine National Police], AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], and the implementers, the implementing agency— should show that they are implementing it properly. Not with politics mixed into it,” the senator stressed.

He declined to  go into details of what he told the Executive’s security cluster, but added; “Really, we should stop…. Let’s say its implementation has been prostituted. So, the senators are studying it now, the ball is in their court. If they can promise that they will fix its implementation, they’ll get their P28-billion back, because it really is a great concept.”

Lacson was speaking in a press conference following his dialogue with transport sector leaders at the Partido Reporma media bureau headquarters in Greenhills, San Juan, broadcast live on Facebook.

Joining Lacson were his running mate, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and senatorial candidate Dr. Minguita Padilla.

Lacson affirmed he was defending NTF-Elcac “to the bones” because being  a former police officer, he understood how great a concept it was to empower the countryside and keep the communist or rebel elements from infiltrating the communities, especially in faraway areas. “My old colleagues in the military, in the PNP, understand this to be a great concept. Because if you don’t follow up the cleared barangays with development or livelihood, the NPA [New People’s Army] will keep returning. Those who are left behind in the villages, they have this fear factor that they will be terrorized, so they [rebels] will rule again.”

Image courtesy of Contributed Photo

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