The House committee on military affairs yesterday called on the two state agencies working to control insurgency in the South to coordinate and cut down on overlapping operations to save money.
The panel, chaired by Pheu Thai MP Somchai Wisanuwong, held a meeting yesterday to discuss the operations of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Organisation (SBPAC) as well their budget request for the 2014 fiscal year.
The panel invited the secretaries-general of the National Security Council and SBPAC as well chiefs of state agencies involved in operations in the South to join the discussion. However, most of them invited their representatives on grounds that they were busy.
Government agencies are in the process of seeking budgets for their 2014 operations.
Maj-General Pirapol Wiriyakul, deputy commander of Isoc Area 4’s Forward Command in the deep South, said his agency was seeking Bt3.974 billion for the following operations:
l Bt1.335 billion for protecting life and assets of local residents;
l Bt1.657 billion for intelligence operations;
l Bt276.64 million for promoting human rights and understanding;
l Bt19.26 million for justice operations;
l Bt74.53 million for developments of human resources;
l Bt74.53 million for promoting public participation;
l Bt123.05 million for education developments;
l Bt404.97 million for implementing strategies to solve problems in the South.
Meanwhile, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, an adviser to the House panel, said all government agencies concerned with operations in the South should review their budget requests and minimise overlapping expenditure such as budgets for holding seminars and intelligence operations.
Sonthi said the overlapping budget should be cut and put together to use for projects to try and win support from certain target groups in the deep South.
Democrat MP Surin Palale, a member of the House military panel, said the Bt1.657 billion Isoc was seeking for intelligence operations was too high, especially since it was only meant for three border provinces in the South. He said that amount added to the intelligence budget of the National Intelligence Agency and Special Branch Police would account for about Bt2 billion or Bt3 billion in the national budget.
He said it appeared as if the efficiency of the intelligence operations in the deep South was not worth the big budget.