Unlike Alvarez, Arroyo won’t give ‘zero budget’ to rival solons — Andaya
Unlike former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, newly-installed House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not give a zero budget to rival lawmakers, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. said on Friday.
Andaya assured that all representatives will get their appropriate share of Congressional allocation in 2019, regardless of their political parties and stands on issues.
“Lahat ng distrito, may pondo. ‘Yan ang klarong utos ni Speaker GMA,” Andaya told reporters. “Bottomline is that the people should not be penalized for the stand taken by their representatives.”
“Appropriations proposed by the executive for projects and programs in a congressional district represented by a non-majority coalition member will not be drastically cut or reduced to zero,” he added.
Arroyo also confirmed this, saying all lawmakers, ally or not, would be given budget “as a gesture of goodwill.”
“Nakita ko na listahan ng zero budget. Bibigyan lahat ng budget as gesture of goodwill,” Arroyo said during Friday’s turnover of WaterMaster to the local government of Calumpit, Bulacan to address flooding in the area.
“Meron nga akong listahan and halos lahat nga was opposing me pero ganun pa man as a gesture of goodwill, hindi sila bibigyan ng zero,” she added.
Andaya said funds could even be augmented if found to be lacking, adding that House appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Nograles would make sure that Arroyo’s directive would be followed.
“The big picture here is that constituents of opposition congressmen pay taxes so they are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their payments. Sabi nga ‘taxes are paid by the people in cash but are rebated to them in kind, in the form of services and projects, and the budget is the catalog of these rebates. So taxation without appropriation is wrong,” Andaya further explained.
Meanwhile, he clarified that no district has absolutely zero budget at present.
“Kasi merong mga national projects ni President Duterte na tuloy, may hiring ng mga teachers sa schools doon, may dagdag pulis doon, tuloy ang health projects,” he continued.
In 2017, Alvarez confirmed that 24 “undesirable” lawmakers lost infrastructure funding for their constituents in the 2018 national budget due to politics.
In a speech in Iloilo last January, Alvarez also threatened that provinces which would not support the government’s push for a shift to federalism would get no funding for their constituents but he withdrew his threat later as a joke.
Alvarez’s move against opposition lawmakers was cited as one of the reasons behind the “disenchantment” of his colleagues at the lower chamber, eventually leading to his ouster on July 23, just before President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address. /vvp
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