On Senate’s approval of the P4.1T 2020 national budget: Duterte to get P4.5B for his “war against the poor”

On Senate’s approval of the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget
Duterte to get P4.5 billion for his “war against the poor”

Manila, Philippines – As the senate approved the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte would be able to utilize as much as P4.5 billion for his “war against the people.” The amount is the total of the alloted confidential and intelligence fund, included in the P8.28 billion budget for the Office of the President.

“The 2020 national budget is an anti-people and fascist budget. Duterte will use his discretionary funds against the people’s resistance that opposes his detrimental policies and programs,” the former lawmaker said in a press statement.

Confidential and intelligence fund almost doubled from the previous P2.5 billion to P4.5 billion for 2020.

“We strongly believe that this is where Duterte gets his funding for rewarding his armed forces for blatantly violating the basic rights of poor sectors across the country, and for the sham surrenderee programs from which corrupt military officials get their usual kickbacks,” he added.

He added that this will also fund the atrocious implementation of Executive Order 70 or the whole-of-nation approach to counter-insurgency, including the red-tagging campaign of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) led by Major General Antonio Parlade who recently gate-crashed an activity of victims of human rights victims in Quezon City.

“This will also embolden the perpetrators of mass killings and abuses in Negros, Samar, Bicol and Mindanao, which are covered by the Memorandum Order 32 and martial law,” he added.

Memorandum Order 32 was issued by Duterte in November last year, which is a virtual order to attack activists in the said provinces.

“It is condemnable that the hard-earned money of the people paid as taxes will be used against them, and to repress legitimate demands such as genuine land reform, wage increases and other fundamental socio-economic reforms,” he stressed.

Also included in the national budget is the P1.9 billion for Oplan Tokhang, the P622 million for the NTF ELCAC and the P183.3 billion defense budget, including the P25 billion budget for Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

“The defense department gets the fifth largest share of the budget, but the people suffers from their treachery and surrender of national sovereignty and territory to China, and direct attacks and abuses, and aerial bombings of peasant communities across the country,” he slammed.

Finally, the poor sectors in the country are facing the impact of man-made crises, such as the catastrophic effect of the Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law, Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, worsening contractualization of labor and depressed wages, and many more. But Duterte fixates on beefing up his warchest against the people’s movement in the country, instead of seriously addressing the concerns and coming up of adequate solutions that will favor the people. ###

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