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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday expressed support for the use of P19 billion of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to fund disaster aid efforts, especially in typhoon-stricken provinces in Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions.

“I strongly support the proposal. Instead of using P19 billion to fund soft projects that are prone to corruption such as agricultural assistance, livelihood and technical vocational trainings, scholarship, and assistance to indigent individual or families, the funds should go directly to our kababayans devastated by the recent typhoons,” Drilon said.

“Let us divert this huge lumpsum amount to disaster relief programs to help rebuild lives and communities in the typhoon-hit areas,” he said.

The NTF-ELCAC budget includes P16.4 billion to be given to around 820 barangays that are supposedly cleared of insurgency a year before the 2022 presidential elections,

Drilon said the move will help erase suspicions that the funds are being established “in aid of 2022 elections.”

He earlier said that the huge funds could be used for 2022 elections.

“We need to rebuild thousands of houses damaged by typhoons. We need all the funds we can get to assist our people pleading for help and help them get back on their feet,” he added.

Drilon said the housing sector cannot do it with only P4 billion in its budget for next year, however.

“We need to augment the budget for housing. The P19 billion in anti-insurgency funds can be transferred for disaster relief and rehabilitation programs instead, including for construction of houses and temporary shelters,” he said.

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