Palace hopes budget for drug war to be restored by Congress
Malacanang expressed hope on Thursday the P1.4-billion proposed budget for the government's war on drugs would be restored by Congress.
In a phone patch interview with reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said cutting the budget for the Philippine National Police's double barrel and the Department of Interior and Local Government's Masa Masid would have "adverse effect" on President Rodrigo Duterte's major program.
"Well obviously, the President needs to fund his pet undertakings and the drug war is one of his undertakings. And it will have of course an adverse effect, if he does not have the funding to implement this war on drugs," he said.
He said the approved version of the Senate on the proposed P3.767 trillion budget for 2018 was "not yet final."
"That's still subject to bicameral conference committee," he said, adding that the Philippine National Police would surely ask for the restoration of the budget for its campaign against illegal drugs.
The Senate approved on Wednesday the budget for 2018.
But Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said: "We cut the double barrel and Masa Masid of the PNP and DILG while PDEA’s (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) budget increased by P1.213 billion."
She has said that the same budget included P50 million for the acquisition of body cameras “to be used by police officers in highly-urbanized areas.”
In October, Duterte issued a memorandum circular designating the PDEA as the sole and lead agency in the war against narcotics following strong criticisms on extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by the policemen.
But Duterte recently said he might return to the PNP the lead role in the campaign against illegal drugs in order for the problem not to worsen. Celerina Monte/DMS