LAWMAKERS on Wednesday urged the government to realign a large chunk of its anti-insurgency funds for the rehabilitation of communities battered by Typhoon Goni, locally named Rolly.
Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate said the P19.1-billion budget of a task force that seeks to end the Maoist conflict — described by some congressmen as “pork-laden” — can make at least 38 million relief packs for almost two million Filipinos affected by the typhoon.
“Our people especially in the Bicol region are so devastated that it would take months and even years for them to recover,” he said in a statement. The anti-insurgency fund could be used to build houses and roads there, he added.
Opposition Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel earlier said a large portion of the task force’s budget earmarked for village development should be channeled to recovery efforts in the Bicol region.
Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said economic managers should consider the proposal.
Presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque on Wednesday said the task force is also mandated to promote the development of typhoon-hit areas “with ongoing insurgencies,” including some provinces in Bicol.
“I don’t think there is any inconsistency with the proposal to actually spend funds in typhoon damaged areas because it is a fact that Bicol also is a hotbed for insurgency,” he told CNN Philippines. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza