Duterte’s 2022 budget will continue to satiate his generals
Rodrigo Duterte announced on September 24 that he will not hesitate to use the military to prevent “trouble” in the upcoming 2022 elections. On many occasions, the tyrant has expressed his confidence that he can trust the generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as he continues to give them favors.
Under the proposed 2022 national budget, the Department of National Defense (DND) requested an allocation of ₱222 billion, higher by ₱16.2 billion than its budget allocation this year.
It requested a budget of ₱103 billion for the Philippine Army, with approximately 100,000 personnel responsible for various attacks against barrios and communities under the regime’s brutal “counterinsurgency” war. The Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force are also set to receive ₱32 billion each.
Around ₱630 million will be directly controlled by the office of Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana. Part of this is the ₱109 million allocation for the corruption-ridden Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, the regime’s “surrender” program. Lorenzana also requested that the ₱35 billion for “AFP modernization” be placed under the control of Duterte. This further augments the president’s pork barrel funds which he can utilize to give favors to his favorite generals.
Huge pork barrel funds
On top of the DND budget, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) proposed an allocation of ₱29.2 billion. The proposed budget is higher by ₱11 billion compared to the allocation this year.
Part of this is the ₱28.12 billion allocation for its Barangay Development Program (BDP). Under the BDP, barangays said to be “cleared” of the influence of the revolutionary movement will supposedly receive ₱20 million each. The BDP has been exposed by the Party since January 2021 as pork barrel given to generals used to control governors and mayors for the 2022 elections. An additional ₱1.08 billion was also requested by the Department of Interior and Local Government to augment the funds of the NTF-ELCAC.
This year, huge pork barrel funds were allocated to areas controlled by the Duterte family, particularly Davao City and the Davao Region. Around ₱4.3 billion were allocated to the said region, while ₱1.64 billion were allocated to Davao City. Huge funds were also poured into Caraga, Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos).
Areas with huge BDP allocations recorded numerous cases of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, and other human rights violations since the Duterte regime came into power until the second half of 2021.
Only lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc opposed the regime’s railroading of its antipeople budget. Meanwhile, several senators pledged to defund the NTF-ELCAC.