Noynoy cuts own intel fund

SOME two months ago, I wrote about the various complaints by some disgruntled junior officers within the military establishment.

The disgruntled junior officers were decrying the fact that some officers that were identified with the former administration are now being sidelined and are placed in floating status while those that are perceived to be close with the present government are getting the juiciest assignments.

In short, they raised the possibility that there could be unrest in the organization unless the present leadership works to avoid factionalism and favoritism.

It is good to know that the recent developments especially the decision by President Aquino to grant amnesty to all the soldiers that were implicated in a number of uprisings against the past administration is bearing positive results.

This after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership has expressed its willingness to look into the issues raised by rebel soldiers and address the alleged anomalies in their organization.

AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo David pointed out that the military has mechanisms to address the complaints of soldiers who exposed anomalies during the previous administration.

Gen. David should be credited for taking cognizance of the urgency of the situation because in the event that he ignored those issues, there is a great possibility that the Oakwood mutiny and the Manila Pen siege would happen all over again.

It is of paramount importance that all issues in the armed forces, and even in the government, that are being raised by the soldiers should be looked into and then acted upon to avert any possible future uprisings.

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True to his word that he would spend public fund judiciously, President Aquino has decided to reduce his confidential and intelligence funds next year by P250 million.

Noynoy could have done it without so much fanfare and away from the media, but his decision was unintentionally made known after Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, chairman of the House appropriations committee, revealed the President’s decision in the course of answering questions from Minority Leader Edcel Lagman on the proposed P4-billion budget of the Office of the President for next year.

Under Noynoy’s original budget proposal, the President had a total of P650 million in funds for confidential and intelligence expenses but this was subsequently reduced to P400 million in an errata that was submitted last week.

In contrast, Mrs. Arroyo controlled nearly P6 billion of such funds during her nine-year presidency. She has not told the public how she had used the money.

Certainly, Noynoy was living up to his campaign promises and let us just hope that he would be good in keeping them until the last day of his term. Bobby Ricohermoso

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