MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros said Wednesday that she fully supports the proposed reallocation of confidential and intelligence funds to government agencies that protect and defend the Philippines.
This comes after Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri announced that, similar to the ruling by the House of Representatives of Congress, the Senate will also transfer confidential and intelligence funds from selected government agencies to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. AFP).
“Earn after earn no day day after support,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(They really deserve this extra support.)
“Masaya ako dahil tumitibay na talaga ang ating panawagan noong nakaraang Agosto na palakasin ng kakayahan ng PCG, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) at ng ibang ahensya,” she added.
(I am pleased that our calls in August to strengthen the capacities of PCG, NICA and other agencies have been strengthened.)
According to Hontiveros, these agencies really need greater funding to protect the country’s natural resources, the livelihoods of Filipinos and the country’s “future.”
“Hindi says it is a civilian agency that directs national security, but can have $500 million in confidential fund, PCG can go to WPS, but $10 million in confidential funds in 2024,” she pointed out.
(It is wrong that civilian agencies not related to national security have a P500 million confidential fund, while the PCG monitors the entire WPS but only got P10 million confidential funds in 2024.)
Noting that confidential and intelligence funds should only be given to agencies mandated to “maintain national security,” Hontiveros said the proposed increase to PCG, among others, is “the right path.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said in an ambush interview Wednesday afternoon that they have yet to discuss which specific agencies whose budgets they will cut or cut.
However, Villanueva noted that this would likely impact civilian agencies.
“Ayokong magsalita ng numero, but probably yung mga civil authorities. ‘Di ba? This can be a big problem. Ayaw Natin and I think some of my colleagues, or most of my colleagues, are saying: Hindi dalawa bente-singko ang intelligence fund. If you look at Bulacan, you can assume that it is free of halos. Anyone can actually ask for it. So hindi po,” Villanueva explained.
(I don’t want to give figures, but probably the civilian authorities. It’s as if we already know whether this should be given confidential allocation. We don’t want it and I think some of my colleagues or most of my colleagues say that the intelligence fund is not something is what anyone can ask for, as if it were free. So no.)
Villanueva added that they are now warning the agencies not to blatantly ask for secret funds. Otherwise, he noted, their request will be scrutinized.
“(W)e just want to be accountable and make sure this is necessary,” he added.
Senate to forward information, confidential and ‘unnecessary funds’ to PCG, AFP – Zubiri
Senators ‘offer’ more intelligence funds for ‘external defense’