The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) gave an assurance on Thursday that the allocation for confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) in the 2024 proposed budget will be covered by circulars and will be properly accounted for.
“Yes po. And as mentioned yesterday po, iyong confidential and intel fund, mayroon po iyang existing joint circular which was released in 2015,” Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said during a press briefing in Malacañang when asked about the funds.
Pangandaman said the joint circular identifies the projects and programs that can be funded using CIF, pointing out a section of the joint circular detailing the disbursement procedures for the funds.
“So, if you look at it, may accountability din po iyong mga finance/admin officers natin and disbursing officers natin,” she said.
According to the budget chief, there is a P120-million increase in the confidential and intelligence funds, with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Anti-Money Laundering Council, and Presidential Security Group (PSG) receiving additional allocations.
But looking closely, Pangandaman said that the percent share of the funds in the entire budget of the national government is actually on a decreasing trend.
In 2018, Pangandaman said the CIF share in the total national budget was 0.215 percent; 0.192 percent in 2019; 0.235 percent in 2020; 0.212 percent in 2021; 0.183 percent in 2022; 0.190 percent in 2023; and, 0.176 percent in the 2024 budget proposal.
“So it’s (2024) the lowest po doon sa time series natin. Ibig sabihin po, iyong share niya doon sa kabuuang budget natin while, if you look at it, it’s P10 billion, it’s actually decreasing naman po,” Pangandaman said.
Budget Assistant Secretary Mary Anne dela Vega said the additional P300 million in DICT’s CIF will cover the agency’s cyber security programs. For the PSG, which received an increase of P50 million, she said it will cover the intelligence activities during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s foreign travels.
Pangandaman said the DICT got additional confidential funds for cyber security because of the government’s aggressive initiative toward digitalization.
“And when you fund for digitalization, kasama po, parallel diyan iyong cyber security investment,” Pangandaman explained, stressing that cyber security procurements must be confidential.
“Because kapag cyber security, sa procurement process … doon sa TOR (terms of reference) mo, hindi mo siya puwedeng ilagay po iyong technical specifications ng cyber security projects because iyong mga hackers, kapag nakita nila iyong specs, eh di wala rin po. Hindi rin po natin (ma-guarantee) iyong cyber security project natin and programs.” PND