NSC slams ploy to ‘discredit’ village development program

The National Security Council (NSC) on Monday assured the public that proposed projects to be funded by Congress-approved Barangay Development Program (BDP) were conceived through multi-sectoral consultations, even as the council slammed the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for peddling lies to discredit the program.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said each 822 barangay cleared of NPA threat and influence is getting P20-million BDP funding initiated by the Duterte administration and approved by Congress.

In fact, the official said, the selection of barangay recipients and their corresponding programs and projects had undergone stringent vetting from national agencies. The grassroots-level needs assessment ensures that the recipients of the package of development initiatives are endowed access to basic services essential for a dignified and comfortable life.

Esperon issued the statement to clarify the “wrong” information being disseminated by CPP-NPA chief information officer Marco Valbuena.

Esperon also said threatened/affected communities in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) were consulted about the projects under the program.

He said Valbuena misled his readers by providing erroneous computations when he claimed that P20 million will be distributed among 215 barangays or P93,000 each.

“It would be ridiculous to assume, in his words, that “each barangay will get a health center worth P6,976…or P13,953 for a school building. The entire machinery of the government’s checks and balances was exhausted in the review and approval process of this program, from the congressional hearings to the Department of Budget and Management. No competent disbursement authority will allow such an unbelievably small amount such as P6,976 for a health center, or P13,953 for a school building,” Esperon, vice chairman of the National Task Force End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), pointed out.

“For the benefit of Mr. Valbuena and his readers, allow me to further reiterate that the P20 million  worth of programs and projects he speaks of is to be given to each barangay cleared of the NPA threat and influence from 2016 to 2019. To set the record straight, there are 822 barangays that shall each be receiving the P20-million BDP assistance, contrary to his claim of 215,” Esperon added.

Hence, Esperon said, a nationwide total of P16.44 billion is allotted for the programs and projects to be implemented under the BDP.

The BDP is the flagship project of the Duterte administration intended to eliminate local communist armed conflict by addressing the root causes of insurgency and help people uplift their lives. President Duterte is the chairman of the NTF-ELCAC.

Earlier, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said he has already issued Local Budget Circular 135, which will serve as the guidelines in releasing NTF-ELCAC’s Local Government Support to the Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP).


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