Members of the House of Representatives over the weekend promised to work on budgetary needs of law enforcement agencies to boost their efforts in licking the illegal drug menace.
Rep. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte, in a hearing by the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs that he heads, assured officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) of the committee’s full support for their anti-illegal drug operations.
“We will definitely give you what you need, as much as we can. We will provide you with the necessary tools with respect to laws that we will craft in the future or perhaps amend existing laws, and we will also give you budgetary support,” Barbers said.
“Each of our committee members will always be there to support you. [We are your allies. We are united in this war against illegal drugs],” he added.
According to Barbers, once the law enforcement agencies’ proposal reaches the plenary, he will ask House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for the increased budget for their stepped-up operations.
The lawmaker said the committee is also open to other proposals coming from the PNP, NBI and PDEA to strengthen their enforcement capabilities.
Barbers said his committee is poring over 40 bills on illegal drugs.
The acting director of PNP operations, Benjamin Magalong, said they have proposed a P1-billion budget for the campaign against illegal drugs, while the PDEA has also asked for a P1-billion budget for 2017.
He added that the PNP’s anti-illegal drug operations were allotted P36 million under the 2016 budget, while no budget was allotted to the NBI.
The NBI supposedly relies on fund assistance from the PDEA and the intelligence budget of the investigation bureau’s director.