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Solons question barangay development fund 

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Opposition lawmakers flagged lump sum appropriations lodged under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) amounting to over P16 billion under the proposed 2021 national budget.

Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat criticized the proposed multibillion-peso budget for barangay development program as a form of "pork barrel" for generals.

Under the allocation called "Support to the Barangay Development Program" of the anti-insurgency task force, villages cleared of insurgency will receive P20 million worth of projects.

"Sinasabi na magkakaroon na P20 milyong 'reward' ang mga barangay na magiging 'NPA Free.' Ano ang mga magiging basehan niyo para sabihing 'cleared' na ang isang barangay? ‘Pork barrel’ ang katangian ng pondong ito dahil hindi itemized," Cullamat said.

The lawmaker raised concern such program would encourage villages to coerce legitimate organizations to surrender or present fake surrenders to claim the money.

"Tinuturuan ng bilyong pondong ito na maging kurap ang mga barangay, at mag-unahan at maglaway sa tinatawag ng NTF-ELCAC na P20 milyong pabuya... Dapat itong matangggal sa 2021 budget," Cullamat added.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago also questioned the funding could be used for the 2022 elections.

"Kaya patunayan po ng DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) na hindi po ito pork at para sa eleksyon sa pamamagitan ng pag-iidentify sa pinakakagyat ng mga proyekto para sa barangays," she said.

"Dahil sa ngayon, ito po ay nanatili na lump sum -- discretionary at malinaw na pork."

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