PNP chief Eleazar assures unspent 2020 anti-insurgency fund intact

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2021   •   291

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday assured the public that its unused budget for anti-communist insurgency programs remains intact.

In a statement, Eleazar said there is no anomaly in the PNP’s unspent share of the funding as a member agency of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

He explained that the budget was only released in October 2020 due to constraints brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Hindi kapabayaan at lalong hindi anomalya ang dahilan kung bakit hindi masyadong nagastos ang inilaang NTF-ELCAC Fund para sa PNP noong 2020,” the PNP chief said.

“Dahil sa pandemya, na-i-release lamang ang pondong umaabot sa kabuuang P722.955 million sa PNP noong Oktubre 26, 2020 at hindi pa ito puwedeng gastusin lahat sa natitirang dalawang buwan ng 2020 dahil sa mahigpit na alituntunin ng batas sa paggastos ng pondo ng taumbayan,” he added.

Eleazar issued the statement in response to the report of the Commission on Audit (COA), which called the attention of the PNP for its supposed low disbursement of the budget for anti-communist insurgency projects.

The COA report stated that only P86.57 million was spent for its anti-communist programs, an amount that was very low compared to the P722.955 million fund that was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in 2020.

Furthermore, only P240.8 million was obligated, leaving a balance of P482.15 million.

Eleazar, however, stressed that the DBM has already advised the PNP that the NTF-ELCAC Fund is considered as a ‘continuing appropriation’, which may be spent until December 31 this year.

“Makakaasa ang ating mga kababayan na sa aking pamumuno, wala ni isang sentimo sa pondong ito ang mawawala sa korapsyon dahil ito ay buwis ng taumbayan na dapat pangalagaan at hindi pag-interesan,” he said.

The PNP chief also noted other matters pointed out by the State auditor in its report, such as the procurement made by the Bicol Police Regional Office, which were supposedly not supported with documents, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Police’s alleged failure to obligate funds due to “non-preparation of project activities.”

“We have acknowledged these findings. We will treat these as lessons learned upang hindi na rin maulit sa mga susunod na budget allocation and utilization,” he said.

“Titingnan natin kung may naging pagkukulang ang ating kapulisan dito,” he added.

Eleazar vowed that the PNP will always observe transparency in the utilization of its budget.

“We want to assure not just the COA but the general public that we are transparent on how funds being allocated to the organization are being utilized and that expenses are well-accounted,” he said.

“Pera ito ng bawat Pilipino kaya’t nararapat lamang na gamitin at i-account ito ng tama,” he added.

Ombudsman junks CIDG petition vs Abayalde anew

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has rejected anew the motion filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) seeking the reversal of the decision to acquit former PNP chief Police General Oscar Abayalde of graft charges filed against him.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman said the CIDG’s motion still lack sufficient evidence that will pin down Abayalde to the case.

The resolution added that the CIDG did not submit new arguments that will prove the involvement of the retired general in the case.

The CIDG filed graft charges against Abayalde for his alleged involvement in the anomalous drug operation of police authorities in Pampanga in 2013. —/mbmf

NTC, makikipag-ugnayan sa PNP at NBI para matunton ang nasa likod ng text scams

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Makikipag-ugnayan ang National Telecommunications (NTC) sa pulisya at sa National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) para imbestigahan ang mga nasa likod ng text scams.

Ito ay kasunod na rin ng mga reklamo ng ilang mobile subscribers ukol sa natatanggap nilang mga text messages mula sa mga ‘di kilalang phone numbers na nag-aalok ng trabaho, o kaya ay pautang.

Ayon sa NTC, maraming paraan para makuha ang phone number ng isang indibiduwal na pinapadalhan ng spam texts.

Kabilang na dito ang listahan ng mga number na nagpapaload sa mga tindahan at sa contact tracing system ng mga establisimyento.

Pero giit ni NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios, ipinagbabawal ang pagbibigay ng impormasyong ito sa ibang tao at paggamit rito para sa text scams.

“We can coordinate perhaps with NBI at police para surveillance, ano, ma-determine sino yung mga yan—grupo ba sila or individual, et cetera, et cetera,” ani Cabarios.

Payo ng NTC sa publiko, huwag magbigay ng personal na impormasyon kung makakatanggap ng mga ganitong mensahe.

Maaari namang i-block ng NTC ang phone number ng mga gumagawa ng ganitong aktibidad kung hihilingin ng mga magrereklamo.

Kung makakatanggap ng text scams, maaari itong ireport sa NTC Central Office Consumer Welfare and Protection Division sa mga numerong (+63) (02) 8920-4464; (+63) (02) 8926-7722; at (+63) (02) 8921-3251.

Maaari ding magpadala ng mensahe sa e-mail address ng NTC na consumer@ntc.gov.ph. (Mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

LGUs urge Senate to revert NTF-ELCAC budget to original amount

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Several governors and mayors expressed dismay over the Senate’s decision to slash the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that is supposed to be allotted to the government’s anti-insurgency program.

The Senate Committee on Finance cut the budget of the NTF-ELCAC from Php28-billion to only Php4-billion.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said he finds questionable the Senate panel’s statement that the NTF-ELCAC’s fund only duplicates that of programs being funded by local government units.

Yap insisted that the NTF-ELCAC programs in the remote areas, particularly the Barangay Development Program, are proven effective.

“Hindi po maintindihan ‘yong statement na duplication. Mayroon bang government agency na into infrastructure at development na bumababa sa barangay na together with mayors, provincial governor with Philippine Army and PNP together with local officials consulting with the people?” Yap said.

Yap added that the farm-to-market road projects of the NTF ELCAC made it possible for the government to reach those in the remote areas, halting the recruitment activities of the New Peoples Army (NPA).

Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, meanwhile, said that if the task force’s budget on the development of barangays is cut, its anti-insurgency projects will be delayed.

This, he fears, will pave the way for the return of the NPA in their area.

Ako naman po ay nakikiusap na huwag naman ninyong ipagdamot ang kapayapaan para sa bansang Pilipinas. Huwag naman nating ipagdamot ang mga pangangailangan na matagal nang minimithi ng ating mga kababayan na maangkin nila,” Dayanghirang said.

Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, in the meantime, stated that lawmakers must not only focus their attention on COVID-19 response but also on insurgency which has long been the country’s major problem.

“Pero kung ‘yong pondo ay tatapyasin talaga at ilipat sa COVID para nga hindi sila maging masama sa tao […] Itong pandemic ng insurgency ay matagal na kasya COVID, sa totoo lang. More than 50 years we have been battling this major problem,” Evardone said. /mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

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