February 29, 2024

P1.23B confidential fund inilipat ng Kamara para sa proteksyon ng West Philippine Sea

MAYROON umanong malaking epektibo sa pagbibigay ng proteksyon sa West Philippine Sea (WPS) ang ginawang paglipat ng Kamara de Representantes sa confidential funds ng mga civilian agency sa mga ahensya na nagbibigay ng proteksyon sa bansa.

Inilipat ng Kamara ang kabuuang P1.23 bilyong halaga ng confidential fund sa ilalim ng 2024 General Appropriations Bill sa mga security agency upang maprotektahan ang interes ng bansa sa WPS.

“I definitely believe that it has a tremendous impact to the Philippine Coast Guard in performing our mandate not just in the WPS but in other parts of the country,” ani Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Jay Tristan Tarriela sa pagdinig nitong Martes ng House Special Committee on West Philippine Sea na pinamumunuan ni Mandaluyong City Lone District Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II sa pagtatanong ni Rizal 2nd district Rep. Emigdio Tanjuatco III.

“I think the intention of the House of Representatives and also with the Senate to boost our funding would definitely support our operational capability in performing our role in the WPS,” dagdag pa ni Tarriela.

Hiniling ni Speaker Romualdez kay Gonzales na magsagawa ng pagdinig kaugnay ng agresibong aksyon ng Chinese Coast Guard at mga Chinese militia vessels sa WPS.

“Our committee is committed to safeguarding the interests of the Philippines and its people,” ani Gonzales.

“We called this meeting to serve as a platform for open dialogue, ensuring that we address the challenges head-on and work towards a peaceful, cooperative future in the [WPS],” dagdag pa ni Gonzales, dating Deputy speaker at majority leader ng Kamara.

Hiniling ni Gonzales sa mga security agency na panatilihing bukas ang linya ng komunikasyon para sa posibleng dagdag na pondong matanggap ng mga ito sa susunod na taon.

“The budget for 2024 is still in progress…in the light of the fact that there was a decision of the House led by the Honorable Speaker to realign certain confidential and intelligence fund of several agencies to concerns particularly of our capability and in protecting our right in the West Philippine Sea, may we suggest to you that as soon as possible, you communicate,” sabi ni Gonzales.

“The combined amount may not be enough to cover all your needs so it is very important for us to know…which of these needs are more, in keeping to your immediate priorities….so that perhaps through the bicam we can make certain adjustments,” wika pa nito.

Sinabi ni Gonzales na ang mga nangyayari sa WPS ay isang “serious cause for concern”.

Bukod sa PCG, dumalo rin sa pagdinig ang mga kinatawan ng Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), at National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS).

Sa isinagawang pagdinig, naalala ni Tanjuatco ang desisyon ng Kamara na ilipat ang P1.23 bilyong confidential fund dahil sa umiinit na tensyon sa WPS.

“The House of Representatives led by Speaker, Speaker Martin Romualdez, made a decision to reprioritizatize or even realign certain items items the budget, specifically the confidential funds of certain agencies to agencies that are more attuned or more concerned with national security, our national defense,” sabi ni Tanjuatco.

Nagtanong si Tanjuatco sa mga resource person kung may epekto ang ginawang paglilipat ng pondo ng Kamara.

Gaya ni Tarriela, sinabi ni DND Undersecretary for Strategic Assessment and Planning Ignacio Madriaga na positibo ang epekto nito sa ahensya.

“Of course sir, any addition to our resources or allocation would be a welcome development for us and you can be sure sir that these additional resources will be put in to good use on defending our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction and our national integrity,” sabi ni Madriaga. 

Ayon sa survey ng Octa Research noong Setyembre 30 hanggang Oktobre 4, mayorya ng mga Pilipino ang pumabor sa ginawang paglipat ng confidential fund ng Kamara.

Pumabor sa hakbang ng Kamara ang 57 porsyento at 14 porsyento lamang ang nagpahayag ng pagtutol dito.