Trillanes wants PNP intelligence budget realigned to military

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — Opposition senator and retired navy officer Antonio Trillanes IV said he will seek to realign the intelligence budget of the national police to the military, citing the Marawi crisis as a backdrop.

The Philippine National Police was given an increase of half a billion for its intelligence funds - more than twice the amount for the military, at only P220 million increase.

The original budget increase proposed for the National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines intel fund was P530 million.

"From our perspective, parang binibigyan pa ng importansya, itong tokhang na may P500 million na intel funds," Trillanes said during Thursday's Senate Finance Committee hearing.

[Translation: From our perspective, it looks like they are prioritizing the anti-illegal drugs operation (tokhang) with P500 million intel funds.]

The senator added the Marawi crisis is a more pressing issue, which might still escalate.

The Marawi crisis, which has been going on since May 23, was largely blamed on the failure of  military intelligence. However, the President and the national security adviser denied this claim.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said although they are not asking for it, they will be thankful if they are given additional funds.

The Defense department proposed a P195.4 billion budget for next year, which is about 8 percent higher than the current budget at P181.3 billion.

Aside from terrorism and counterinsurgency, defense operations will also focus on securing the country's maritime borders.

"We are actually allocating funds to increase our patrols there, so that poaching by the other countries will not happen," Lorenzana said, referring to the disputed West Philippine Sea.

The department has yet to spend more than P20 billion for its modernization program. It hopes to buy 16 combat utility choppers before the budget expires by the end of the year.