FORMER Philippine president and now Manila mayor, Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada, has approved the release of millions of pesos for every barangay in the city to boost the fight against illegal drugs at the grassroots level and prepare them for natural calamities.
“My dream is for our city to become the first ever drug-free city in the Philippines, that’s why I need your support. We should all work together,” Estrada told a group of barangay chairmen during a meeting at the Manila City Hall recently.
Making Manila a drug-free city, he said, would be the “best legacy” his administration could leave behind for the benefit of the next generation.
Last August, Estrada distributed P20 million to the city’s 896 barangays to fund their own anti-drug campaign and followed this up with another P32 million last Monday as their “supplemental budget” for the rest of the year.
Prior to this, Estrada also approved the release of P200 million to help protect local communities from possible terror attacks following the deadly bombing in Davao City last September while 38 villages in “calamity-prone areas” received P24.05 million to boost their disaster mitigation projects.
Since 2014, the budget allocation for the city’s barangays has risen, from P950 million in 2014 to P1.96 billion one year later, mainly due to improved tax collection and the settlement of the city’s P5.5 billion debts.
The mayor noted that “empowering” local communities thru generous fund allocation helps improved living conditions while also boosting the campaign against illegal drugs.
“The barangays are the ‘first line of defense’ of the city government against illegal drugs,” Estrada stressed.