ESPERON: Anti-insurgency fund not pork barrel

Defends P16.4 Billion budget vs. terrorists

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon defended on Friday the requested budget for its campaign against insurgency.

A total budget of Php 16.4 billion has been allocated for the economic programs of barangays that have been declared insurgency-free. Each barangay will receive a Php 20 million-allocation. Esperon reported that around 822 barangays are now recovering from the impact of CPP-NPA violence.

Among the programs included in the funding are the Road to Market Project, the establishment of schools, and the provision of livelihood to residents.

Esperon justified that such measures will weaken the forces of the New People’s Army and will create more stable communities. Guerilla bases of the NPA will be eliminated which will make it easier for security forces to pursue them.

Meanwhile, Esperon countered the allegation of the Makabayan bloc that the program is considered pork barrel. He explained that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is in charge of releasing the fund directly to municipalities and that there is already a list of target beneficiaries. – Report from Bea Bernardo

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