More budget sought for the deep South and a rethink for CCTVs
The National Security Council is experiencing an headache about how to trim down proposed additional budgets requested by four agencies responsible for security and development affairs in the restive deep South.
The additional budgets which were proposed by the Internal Security Operations Command, the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre, the National Police Office and the Ministry of Education accumulatively amount to about 10 billion baht on top of 20.1 billion baht “budget to douse southern fire” already endorsed by the parliament for the 2013 fiscal year.
The 20.1 billion baht budget for 2013 fiscal year represents an increase of some five billion baht compared to the budget of the previous fiscal year. A breakdown of the budget is as follows: 7,280 million baht for Isoc; 2,295 million baht for SBPAC, 1,798 million baht for NPO and the remainder for a host of ministries and departments.
The Education Ministry has requested for additional budget to fund its own plan to install surveillance cameras at schools in the so-called “high risk” areas for the safety of teachers, it was reported.
All the four agencies namely Isoc, SBPAC, NPO and the Education Ministry have claimed that additional funding is necessary to enable them to function more effectively in their role to look after the people’s safety. It was reported that the cabinet had made reservations about the funding requests and finally assigned the National Security Council to take a close look into the issue and to make some cuts.
The National Police Office, for an example, has sought additional budget to implement its plan to deploy an addition of 1,500 recruits to the deep South to replace army troops who are to be gradually withdrawn from the region. The additional budget is meant to purchase equipments and to build new apartments for the newly-recruited policemen, among others.
SBPAC, in the meantime, has wanted additional budget to increase the capabilities of the militia force under its supervision which is expected to assume greater peace-keeping role once the army starts pulling out. Earlier, SBPAC distributed one million baht fund to each of the 282 tambons in Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla to be used to look after security affairs in each respective tambon.
Latest report said that the National Security Council has trimmed the proposed additional budgets down from 10 billion baht to about nine billion baht. Disbursement of the budget is to be done in three phases with the first phase for Isoc and SBPAC; the second phase for the Education Ministry and the third phase for the National Police Office.
I wish to draw the government’s attention to the budgets to install surveillance cameras in the far South being sought by various agencies, lately the Education Ministry.
For example, the office of the permanent office of the Interior Ministry has so far spent about one billion baht since 2007 to install CCTVs in the restive far South. Until now, the project remains uncompleted due to bidding problem.
Besides the office of the interior permanent office, the Provincial Administration Department and the Local administration Promotion Department which are under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry also have their own plans to install CCTVs in the far south.
It will be just fine for the CCTV projects of all the various agencies if they are closely and regularly monitored. But the sad truth is that they are mostly not monitored due to shortage of manpower. Hence, it came as no surprise that many surveillance cameras were vandalized or destroyed in recent years.
Will it be possible for all the agencies concerned join hands to handle the CCTV projects rather than doing the job separately and independently. At least, the taxpayers’ money used for this purpose should be worthily and wisely spent for the sake of the people.
It is still not too late for the government to rethink on this issue.
Caption : CCTVs were destroyed in the far South.