SINCE the Philippine National Police (PNP) is no longer involved in the government’s war on drugs, Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon has proposed realigning the P1.4 billion anti-illegal drug campaign budget to the housing fund for policemen.
Drilon made the proposal during the interpellation of the proposed budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government amounting to P170.99 billion which include the PNP’s P131.5 billion for 2018.
“We will propose an amendment to realign approximately P1.4 billion to increase the housing budget for PNP personnel,” Drilon said during the budget interpellation on Thursday night.
The P1.4 billion is sourced from the PNP’s Oplan Double Barrel/Tokhang amounting to P900 million, the DILG’s Masa-Masid program of P500 million, and the Anti-Illegal Drugs Information System of P14 million.
President Rordigo Duterte on October stripped the PNP of its role in the government’s anti illegal-drug campaign which has been a subject of criticism by local and international rights groups.
Since the PNP launched its Tokhang and Double Barrel campaign at least 3,800 suspected drug personalities have been killed by police.
Duterte signed a memorandum ordering the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to take over anti-drug operations while the PNP will focus on unresolved cases of street killings committed by motorcycle-riding men.
Drilon’s proposal would mean an additional 2,376 housing units for PNP personnel in 2018 on top of the 450 units being proposed under next year’s budget. The PNP has a housing backlog of 10,300 units.
Apart from the drug campaign budget the Senate minority leader is also looking to realign a portion of the intelligence funds to the housing program.
The intelligence fund under the 2018 budget is at P969 million, three times higher than the 2016 budget of P306 million.
“We will propose that a good part of this intelligence fund be channeled to the housing of the rank and file and uniformed personnel of the PNP instead,” Drilon said.
The government has constructed a total of 66,184 housing units as of 2013 but only 8,240 have been occupied leaving 55,124 units, including those intended for police and military personnel idle.
Some of the units in Bulacan province were forcibly occupied by Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).
Most of the beneficiaries found the housing units unappealing because of the size and location of the houses.
It was also leader during recent Senate inquiry that the National Housing Authority did not consult the housing boards of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP before it started the housing project.