ACT slams P36B budget for NTF-ELCAC amid calamity fund cut, measly pay hike

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MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines slammed on Tuesday President Rodrigo Duterte’s granting of P36.439 billion to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), a formation that was built to implement the Whole-of-Nation approach to ending insurgency in the country as directed by Duterte’s EO 70.

The task force’s budget was P3 billion more than the P33.2 billion provided for the 2020 pay hike of civilian government employees, and was P20  billion more than the P16  billion 2020 calamity fund, after it was slashed by P4 billion during the budget deliberation.

The teachers’ group criticized Duterte’s prioritization of war over people’s welfare.

“We are enraged that the Duterte’s NTF-ELCAC, his main fascist machinery that has militarized the bureaucracy, gets a huge chunk of people’s coffers. Meanwhile, the calamity fund was significantly slashed and the pay hike budget for 1.5 million civilian employees was prudently provided for in the 2020 budget. Such leaves us vulnerable in times of crisis, like now that we are facing the tragedy of the Taal volcano eruption. The government’s neglect has never been more evident, and the people’s collective power ever more powerful as we are left to rely on each other,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

ACT argued that the people shall likewise unite to hold the Duterte administration accountable for its abandonment of the people and failure to do its duties.

ACT further said  that the government “kills us twice over—through his wars against the people, especially the poor, and by denying us our basic rights to social and economic services.”

(Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)

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