Bong Go manifests support for defense budget; suggests streamlining rebel benefits

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Sen. Bong Go expressed support for the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of National Defense and its attached agencies during plenary deliberations that lasted past midnight on 11 November.

In a manifestation, Go pointed out the crucial role of the military and other uniformed personnel in maintaining peace and security necessary for national development.

“They protect our country’s sovereignty. Karapat-dapat lamang po na suportahan natin sila at kung pwede nga po dagdagan pa po natin ang budget nila para mas matulungan natin sila,” said Go.

“We must be of service to them by formulating and pushing for legislation which will support the initiatives for the betterment of military service.

Go recognized the sacrifices of MUPs in the country, including the police, firefighters, coast guard, and jail personnel.

“Their unparalleled service, bravery and heroism should be truly commended,” said Go.

Also during the session, Go said former rebels should receive the benefits promised to them. Since these benefits are provided separately by various departments, he suggested streamlining the provision and ensuring seamless delivery.

“Kung maaari, malagay yung programang ‘yan kung sa DND man o DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), kasi meron po akong narinig, nabanggit nga ni Sen. Robin (Padilla) kanina, hindi nabigyan ng reward,” said Go.

“Aside from that, meron rin akong narinig na reklamo, merong isang probinsya na hindi pa nabalikan ‘yung kanilang dapat na matanggap, ‘yung package.

“Bakit hindi ninyo na lang po tignan yung programa na ma-integrate, at talagang maging programa? Hindi kalat-kalat, kasi, sabi mo nga, Mr. President, ‘yung iba nasa DILG, ‘yung iba naman nasa DND yung pondo.”

The ECLIP or Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program is a package of assistance provided to former rebels. Under the program, former rebels will receive financial support in the form of immediate livelihood, reintegration assistance, and firearms remuneration depending on the surrendered firearms, among others.

Go said more rebels will be encouraged to rejoin society if there is consistency in the delivery of the benefits, which can be achieved by consolidating them under one agency.

“Baka pwede nating gawing programa ito na Balik Loob Program? Para naman tuluyang ma-engganyo yung mga sumu-surrender na hindi sila maligaw muli,” said Go.

He clarified, though, he is not questioning the program itself. Rather, he supports it and wishes for it to continue by working for its success.

Go’s suggestions earned the support of Sen. Bato dela Rosa, who sponsored the budget for the DND. Dela Rosa said officials from the department could make some modifications to accommodate the suggestions.

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