Makabayan members say not enough to just slash budget of anti-communist task force

MAKABAYAN lawmakers on Tuesday said it was not enough to cut the budget of the anti-communist task force and reiterated their call to abolish the multi-agency group.

The Senate Finance Committee slashed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) budget to P4 billion from the proposed P28 billion.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, who chairs the committee, told the media via Zoom on Tuesday that the retained allocation is for health allowances.

Mr. Angara said the reduction was decided due to the ad hoc group’s failure to submit a report on its utilization of its P19-billion appropriation this year.

“We can’t make a judgment really if the program has been a success or not because we’ve not received, very little information on the actual project,” he said.

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani T. Zarate on Tuesday said that “slashing the budget of the NTF-ELCAC is not enough, it should be completely defunded and abolished.”

“Since the task force’s formation, its ballooning generals’ pork has been used for patronage, even more especially in this time of election,” Mr. Zarate said in a statement. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan