March 4, 2024

The recent move of the Lower House to divert the controversial funds allotted to the office of the country’s second highest official is proof that a critical public can do something to correct or nip possible abuses in the bud.
The announcement by the House Committee on Appropriations that it will realign portions of the P650 million that was requested by Vice President and Education Sec. Sara Duterte-Carpio as confidential intelligence funds to other agencies shows that the public has the power to stop leaders from abusing their positions. The Office of the Vice President is supposed to get P500M while DepEd is set to receive P150M from next year’s budget.
At this time critical thinking is eroding for various reasons, among them the fear of reprisal and the incurable damage caused by disinformation to a lot of citizens, it is comforting to know that hope is not lost after all.
The allocation of millions in confidential intelligence funds to an office that does not have the mandate of ensuring national security is an insult to the agencies that need the funds more. More so, it is a disservice to the taxpayers who are already burdened by the unabated increase in prices of basic commodities.
To request P650M from the taxpayers’ money for purposes that will never be disclosed is a disgusting way for a public official to treat the people who catapulted them into power, especially in the midst of a disclosure that the same office spent another P125M in confidential funds only in 11 days.
The allocation of confidential intelligence funds, especially to glaringly underserving government offices, should never become the norm; not in a country where the majority of people live in the shackles of poverty.
Now, more than ever, the public needs to be vigilant about how the leaders are spending funds in the guise of public service delivery. We cannot allow officials who are supposed to work to achieve the common good to use their office to advance their personal interests.
The action of the Lower House in realigning part of the Vice President’s requested confidential intelligence funds to offices that are actually working to protect the country’s interest in the West Philippine Sea shows criticisms are not the antidote of development as often claimed by those who have been averse to dissent.
In fact, vigilance and criticism against abuses or injustices are the citizens’ allies in making sure that the people they sent to public office will serve their interests and that of their country’s.
While we welcome the action of the Lower House, let us continue being vigilant about how the allocation would be realigned if only to ensure the agencies these funds are supposed to be allotted to will really get the funds.
At this time when it is almost impossible to trust our leaders to prioritize achieving the common good over their personal interests, let us not get tired of keeping in check people in power.