HUMAN RIGHTS group Karapatan said on Sunday that secret funds taken away from government agencies should be used for social service programs and not security agencies that allegedly undermine privacy concerns of citizens.

“In the hands of the NSC (National Security Council), NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency), and agencies working in line with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), these confidential funds will only be used for killing, surveilling, threatening and endangering the lives and security of persons, resulting in more human rights violations,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said in a statement.

Last week, congressmen stripped several agencies including the Office of the Vice President (OVP) of their confidential funds, transferring P1.23 billion worth of these funds to security agencies amid tensions in the South China Sea dispute.The NICA and the NSC were among recipients of these funds — P300 million and P100 million, respectively.

Ms. Palabay claimed that the NICA and NSC cannot be trusted that its confidential funds will be used to protect national sovereignty. “They are more obsessed with leading the Marcos Jr. regime’s counter-insurgency program, raking in millions while promoting their made-up stories of surrenderees and rebel returnees, and with their criminal acts of abductions, unjust arrests and killings,” she said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz