In a statement published 28 September, Malaya Asedillo, Spokesperson for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Laguna (NDFP-Laguna) assailed the Marcos Jr regime for including huge confidential and intelligence funds, P5.277 billion and P4.864 billion, respectively, in the 2024 national budget while slashing funds for social services and the needs of the public.
Asedillo said, “It is blatantly clear that the ‘confidential’ funds are a cover for ‘corruption’ funds. The CIF has always been used both to line the pockets of the ruling clique and its cronies, and to further the state’s fascist attacks against the people.”
Asedillo further pointed out that the regime’s vice president Sara Duterte’s misuse of her ill-gotten confidential funds proves how these funds are used for corruption. Duterte spent P125 million in 11 days, previously reported as 19 days, equating to P11.36 million per day, or 60 years’ wages for an industrial worker in Laguna.
“Public outrage and the mass movement has forced lawmakers to remove Sara Duterte’s confidential funds, rechanneling them to supposed agencies protecting Philippine interests in the West Philippine Sea. However, this includes agencies like the National Security Council and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency—agencies known for using their funds to conduct illegal surveillance and harassment against unionists, mass leaders, and opposition personalities.”
Ang Bayan, the official publication of the Communist Party of the Philippines, on 21 September 2023 pointed out how “Marcos Jr’ cronies and allies will also be indulged by the large increase in the proposed budget. Up to P1.418 trillion will go to the despicable ‘Build Better More’ infrastructure program drooled over by his family’s billionaire cohorts for its large kickbacks.”
The regime’s House of Representatives passed the 2024 national budget with 296 votes in favor and 3 against. All three votes against came from the Makabayan bloc (group of progressive lawmakers).
House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers opposed the bill, saying the 2024 General Appropriations Bill “is unresponsive to the appeals of Filipinos on the issues on food, livelihood, and services, while increasing the funds for fascism, pork, foreign interests, and debt payment.”
The Makabayan bloc also underscored the lack of transparency in how confidential funds are being utilized. “While we are in dire need of funds for hospitals, schools, and agencies with social services mandate, lucky agencies will receive a ballooned confidential and intelligence fund worth P10.14 billion,” Castro added.