Activist lawmakers want to cut AFP, intel, drug war budget to fund ₱17-B hike for DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — Lawmakers from the left-leaning Makabayan bloc want to cut funding for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the drug war and the President’s confidential intelligence funds and realign it to give the Deprtment of Health a ₱17-billion hike in its budget for next year.

‘Yung AFP modernization program, that's ₱25 billion. Baka pwedeng may i-realign tayo diyan. ‘Yung confidential and intelligence fund. Kung ang priority natin ang interes ng mamamayan, bakit ‘yung pondo ng paniniktik ang ating lakihan?” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said Monday.

[Translation: The AFP modernization program is ₱25 billion. Maybe we can realign funds from there, the confidential and intelligence fund. If our priority is the interest of our people, why are we increasing funding for spying?]

The Makabayan bloc wants to increase funding for the Health department in the face of outbreaks of measles, polio and dengue in the country.

Zarate said public hospitals need to be well-stocked and well-equipped in the face of these health woes.

The Makabayan bloc will submit its proposed institutional amendments, including funding for the Health department, to the small committee designated by the House this week.

The Health department’s proposed ₱88-billion budget for 2020 is ₱10 billion less than its allocation for 2019.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.