The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) can use its budget for the “drop box” project for other purposes, Officer-In-Charge Catalino Cuy said on Saturday.
Cuy made the pronouncement as the drop box project was grilled in the Senate plenary debate for the DILG’s budget, where it was deemed “prone to malice and abuse which can possibly lead to unnecessary deaths.”
“We can do away with the drop box but not the whole budget earmarked for the mechanism,” Cuy said.
He acknowledged the negative reactions on the drop box project but maintained it was meant to get “feedback” that would encourage people to be active in helping ensure “peace and order” in their areas.
“The drop box is not meant for ‘Tokhang’ as claimed by different groups. We just want the people to be on board in the government’s efforts for peaceful and progressive communities,” Cuy said.
He also clarified there was no final proposal yet on how much would be spent to purchase the controversial drop boxes, though proposals were lobbied for consideration.
“Even prior to the issue becoming public, there was no tag price for the drop boxes,” Cuy said.
According to him, instead of removing the budget for the drop box, it is better that some of the funds be allocated to other DILG programs related to the monitoring of peace and order, data-gathering and surveillance.
Cuy said the department currently has existing programs where the concept of the “drop box” can be used. He said these programs were “cut from the same cloth” as the drop box idea.