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Nat’l security gets P272B

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling

The government has set aside P271.9 billion to protect the country’s security, public order, and safety as well as guard territorial waters under the proposed 2018 national budget.

President Duterte has proposed the allocation of P140.4 billion to further enhance military capability against security threats and another P131.5 billion to boost the police crackdown against illegal drugs and crimes.

The proposed P3.767-trillion national budget was submitted by the President to Congress shortly after delivering his State-of-the Nation Address last Monday.

“We will allocate P140.4 billion to beef up the military capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the President said in his budget message.

“Of the amount, P25 billion is for the Revised AFP Modernization Program to fund the procurement of armaments, surveillance, mobility, and communications equipment necessary to maintain peace and order,” he added.

Duterte said the Philippine Coast Guard will also be given P3.1 billion to upgrade its abilities to cover the country’s territorial waters and coastlines. “The bulk of this will go to the procurement of service weapons and service firearms (P922 million), one helicopter (P686 million), and watercraft (P682 million),” he said.

On intensifying the Philippine National Police’s law enforcement ,operations, the President said he has increased the budget to P131.5 billion for 2018, from the P11.8 billion this year.

“The administration commits to further strengthen efforts in ridding communities of illegal drugs and crime,” he said.

Of the amount, P1.4 billion would bankroll the hiring of 10,000 new policemen from the current 194,410 police officers. It also seeks to increase police visibility and attain the police to population ratio of 1:500.

“Another P900 million will fund Oplan: Double Barrel Reloaded, the administration’s campaign flagship program against illegal drugs,” the President said.

In his second SoNA before the joint session of Congress, the President vowed the campaign against illegal drugs would be “unrelenting” despite the deluge of criticisms on alleged rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.