Davao solon defends Duterte’s P4.5-B intel fund for 2020

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DAVAO CITY  — Third District Representative and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Isidro Ungab on Monday, September 16, defended the proposed P4.5 billion confidential and intelligence funds under the Office of President (OP) for 2020.

Of the P8.25 -billion proposed budget for the Office of the President, P4.5-billion is allocated to the intelligence and confidential fund of President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the plenary on Monday, Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite questioned the “unprecedented” 400-percent increase , which he said comprised more than half of the entire OP 2020 budget.

But Ungab argued with Gaite saying the confidential and intelligence requirements are based on the “coordinated and integrated intelligence estimates” of local and foreign situations for the formulation of the national policies of the President.

Ungab, who used to be the chairperson of the Finance, Ways and Means Committee of the City Council for nine years here, stood up during the deliberation and stressed ” President Rodrigo Duterte, as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, needs the resources to adapt to the ever-changing threats to national security.”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said: “It’s hard to secure a country… You really need the money, you need people, you need machines and technology. These will entail a lot of expenses.”

In an interview with NewsLine.ph, Ungab said, “I know how then Mayor Rody (Duterte) spent the intelligence fund and confidential fund, every in Davao is aware that he spent it well. As President , I know he will use the fund for the intended purpose which is to protect every life and property of his country.”

Ungab further stressed “When it comes to leadership and in matters of peace and order, Davao City is the template of President Duterte, he is replicating every success story of our city.”

The specific use of confidential and intelligence funds are not disclosed to the public, as these are supposed to be spent for matters relating to national security and peace and order, but Ungab vouched I know how he spends it and he means well.”

He added that Duterte will use the funds for the administration’s intensified war against drugs, criminality, insurgency, and terrorism, among others.

“The President, as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, needs intelligence and confidential information in the performance of his duty in order to effectively, efficiently, and precisely plan all intensified efforts to suppress threats against national security, terrorism, campaign against illegal drugs, insurgency and transnational crimes,” Ungab said.

“I think it is only proper and fitting that we provide the amount as requested by the Office of the President in order for the OP to be able to deliver effectively and efficiently the needs of the country,” he added.

The proposed budget for the Office of the President in 2020 has increased by PHP1.5 billion compared to the PHP6.7 billion allocated for this year.-ezc/NewsLine.ph

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