MANILA — Senator Panfilo Lacson said Friday the alleged PHP160-million “pork” allocation for each member of the House of Representatives in the proposed PHP3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 is “too much and unacceptable.”
Lacson said each congressman would receive PHP160 million from the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), more than the previously reported PHP60-million allocation.
He also alleged that an amount of PHP23 billion was inserted by some senators in the DPWH budget.
“(PHP)160M pork for each congressman, and billions more for a few others plus (PHP)23B for some senators on the DPWH budget alone is too much and unacceptable,” Lacson said on a Twitter post.
Lacson vowed to fight against these pork barrel allocations in the bicameral talks on the 2019 budget.
“I may be outvoted eventually but I’m willing to go down fighting, confident that some like-minded colleagues will do the same,” Lacson said.
“Sick and tired” of the numerous “pork” allegations hounding the 2019 budget, Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed the withdrawal of the Senate-approved General Appropriations Bill (GAB) and pushed for a reenacted budget.
“Considering the numerous allegations being leveled at the 2019 budget both from the HOR (House of Representatives) and the Senate, I will propose to Senator Loren (Legarda), as chair of the Finance Committee, to withdraw the Senate GAB version and go for a reenacted budget,” Sotto told reporters in a text message.
“I hope that will erase all doubts and allegations of pork and other so-called insertions in the budget,” he added.
Meanwhile, Legarda said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has assured that there will be funding for the May 2019 elections and salary adjustment of government workers even as both Houses of Congress are still working on the approval of the 2019 national budget.
“We would like to assure the voting public, and our government personnel that the DBM will source the necessary funds for the mid-term elections and salary adjustments,” she said.
Legarda said the bicameral meeting can go on until February 8, as she expressed willingness to go beyond for a special session if warranted. (PNA)