Binay: It's 'high-time' to review anti-communist task force's budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) - Following the alleged profiling and red-tagging of community pantry organizers, Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday said it's "high-time" to review the national anti-communist task force's budget for next year.

"Budget season is coming, I will really make sure that we'll be addressing the budget for the NTF-ELCAC. Maybe, it's high-time that we really review their budget," she told CNN Philippines' News Night.

The community pantries that popped up in different parts of the country have been the subject of red-tagging by anti-communist task force officials. National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesperson Gen. Antonio Parlade admitted to the profiling, arguing it's their job to remind people to be careful about "dubious organizations and individuals."

READ: Authorities deny profiling of community pantry organizers

The NTF-ELCAC has a ₱19-billion budget for 2021, with around ₱16-billion to be spent as incentives for barangays that were cleared of insurgency threats.

"For me, we should all concentrate on how we will survive this pandemic. The priority should not be about red-tagging or the communist problem. We should prioritize our response with this pandemic," Binay said.

The senator added that all help should be welcomed as the government cannot do everything.

"At the end of the day, I think the government, especially the national government should realize that they do have lapses, that they cannot really address all the present problems that we are now facing," she said. "All help, all hands on deck should be welcomed."

Some Metro Manila mayors and other senators have also defended the community pantries. Vice President Leni Robredo has also expressed hopes that more community pantries will be set up in other areas.

On Wednesday, the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives called for an investigation on the alleged profiling and red-tagging of community pantry volunteers and organizers.