Gov’t intel spending went up P2B in 2019

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    THE Duterte government’s “confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary expenses” ballooned to P13.466 billion in 2019, an increase of P2.03 billion compared to P11.439 billion in 2018, according to a Commission on Audit (COA) report.

    Based on its 463-page 2019 Annual Financial Report on the national government made accessible to the public on January 11, the top three agencies with the biggest confidential and intelligence fund (CIF) spending were Congress with P3.98 billion, the Department of National Defense (DND) with P3.087 billion, and the Office of the President with P2.411 billion.

    Annual Financial Reports (AFRs) are released by the COA as a guide on the financial condition of the government and how to improve efficiency.

    The 2019 AFR was submitted to the Office of the President, the Senate President, the Senate committee on finance, the Office of the Speaker, and the House committee on appropriations last December 15.

    Government auditors broke down the expenditure item into intelligence expenses (P6.12 billion), extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses (P4.776 billion), and confidential expenses (P2.57 billion).

    The top three agencies accounted for a whopping 70.4 percent of the government’s total spending.

    Of the sum attributed to Congress, 89.78 percent equivalent to P3.57 billion was used up by the House of Representatives.

    Under the DND, the General Headquarters-Armed Forces of the Philippines accounted for P2.54 billion or 82.24 percent of the P3.087 billion.

    On the other hand, the OP-Proper spent the entire P2.41 billion.

    Other agencies who had a slice of the confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary funds were the Department of Interior and Local Government (P1.794 billion), “Other Executive Offices” (P752.7 million), Department of Information and Communication Technology (P307.314 million), Department of Justice (P279.086 million), the judiciary (P268.522 million), Department of Finance (P90.935 million), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM (P82.674 million).

    Smaller spending by other departments and offices of the government for the same purpose totaled P411.623 million.

    In 2018, the top three agencies in spending confidential, intelligence and extraordinary funds were also the DND (P3.558 billion), Office of the President (P2.511 billion) and Congress (P2.446 billion).

    Based on records, government spending for CIF have increased sharply in the last five years under the Duterte administration from only P3.687 billion in 2015, P4.444 billion in 2016, P9.424 billion in 2017, P11.439 billion in 2018, and P13.466 billion in 2019.