The realignment of some P1.23 billion in confidential funds of some civilian government agencies in the 2024 national budget is a constitutional exercise of Congress’s power of the purse, and it has responsibly done so when it redistributed them to national security agencies.
This was the assertion made by Misamis Oriental Rep. Christian S. Unabia, who said that the country’s precarious position in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) justifies the realignment of the controversial confidential funds.
“I maintain my belief that the House of Representatives has done nothing wrong in realigning confidential funds in the 2024 national budget. It is the constitutional mandate of Congress to exercise the power of the purse. And boosting the budget of national security agencies is a responsible way of spending public funds,” Unabia said.
“This is especially true in light of the country’s predicament in the WPS. We need to boost our capabilities in protecting our exclusive economic zone. Our fishermen are being kept from their livelihood and turned away in our own fishing grounds,” he added.
The House of Representatives recently realigned the confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Some of the beneficiaries of the realignment include the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (P300 million); the National Security Council (P100 million); the Philippine Coast Guard (P200 million); and the Department of Transportation (P351 million), which will use the fund to develop and expand the Pag-asa Island airport.
“I believe this is a prudent way of allocating public funds, which is to spend it on programs that protect the Filipino people’s livelihood. For me, the decision to realign confidential funds is just based on an assessment of who needs it more,” Unabia expressed.
“And in this case, I feel the sector of defense and security needed an augmentation of funds. Our power comes from the people and our mandate is set by the Constitution. Our decision to realign confidential funds mirrors this fact,” he continued.