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Solons back P1.4 B budget for PDEA

By: Ben Rosario

As Left-leaning solons questioned the proposed additional P900 million for the police war against illegal drugs, a similar adjustment for the Philipine Drug Enforcement Agency has won strong approval among congressmen.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Norgrales, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, disclosed that majority of the House panel members are backing the proposed P1.4 billion PDEA budget for 2018.

Nograles said his committee is also supportive of the the additional P934.5 million allocation sought by PDEA to fund much-needed items that would bolster government’s anti-drug campaign.

Earlier, Makabayan bloc solons led by Bayan Muna Parytlist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate warned that the proposed P170.733 billion budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government contained a 4,400 percent hike for the funding of the anti-illegal drug war of the Duterte government.

From a meager P20 million, the proposed anti-narcotics fund for next year soared to P900 million.

“With a P900 million budget for the Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded, how many more deaths are we expecting here? How many more Kian delos Santoses will die?” Zarate asked.

In contrast, lawmakers were supportive of the PDEA budget hike as expressed by them during Wednesday’s budget hearing presided by Masbate Rep. Scott Davies Lanete, appropriations panel vice chairman.