The House of Representatives will realign the confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) of various civilian agencies to augment the budgets of intelligence and security forces tasked to address escalating threats in the West Philippine Sea, House Appropriations Committee chairperson Elizaldy Co said Wednesday.
“The country’s safety and security are of paramount importance. To protect our territorial integrity from external threats, Congress is giving top priority to agencies directly in charge protecting the country’s safety and securing its borders,” he said in a statement following the unanimous decision of all party heads in the House of Representatives.
The unanimous decision of House party leaders came after the Chinese Coast Guard installed a floating barrier in Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough shoal off the coast of Zambales.
“As discussed, we will realign the confidential funds of various civilian agencies. Now is the time to give our intelligence community the means to perform their duties, especially in these pressing times when we’re facing serious concerns in the West Philippine Sea,” Co said.
He said the House of Representatives will augment funding for the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the National Security Council, Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to boost the country’s monitoring and operational capabilities in protecting our territorial waters and securing the rights and access of Filipino fishermen to their traditional fishing grounds.
In response to media queries, Co said among those to be affected by the budget cuts are the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education, which were allocated a combined amount of PHP650 million in CIFs under the 2024 National Expenditure Program.
“So far that’s what we have identified, but we’re still looking at other sources,” he said. (PNA)
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