MANILA, Philippines—Even militant lawmakers belonging to the administration coalition are receiving shabby treatment from Malacañang—just like the family and allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino revealed that he and some of his colleagues from militant party-list groups had not received their P70-million allocations this year from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel.
“I confirm we have not received any releases for our projects from the PDAF this year. No word from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management),” said Palatino, adding that they were able to get their share of pork during the first year of the Aquino administration without any hassles.
Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said: “We are still waiting for the releases. We are worried because we have committed these funds to hospitals and all our funds have been used up. What can the poor women access now?”
Ilagan said Gabriela had scholarship grants and water projects that have been affected by the delay in its pork barrel release.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. offered no explanation, however, saying that, “you have to ask them.”
Abad pointed out that at least two of the seven party-list representatives from the Makabayan bloc got their PDAF releases—Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.
Aside from Palatino and Ilagan, their peers who had yet to receive a centavo of their P70 million annual allocation are Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casino, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus and ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio.
The zero-pork barrel Makabayan members are now in the same boat as the allies of Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative currently under hospital detention.