Zamora denies Lacson’s ‘pork’ allegations vs 2 House lawmakers
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives appropriations panel acting chair denied Wednesday Senator Panfilo Lacson’s allegations that two House members have been allotted more than P1 billion each in extra funding for their pet projects under the 2019 national budget.
In a press conference, Compostela Valley 1st Dist. Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora dismissed claims the budget of a Pampanga district increased to P2.242 billion, while the fund for Camarines Sur ballooned to P1.906 billion.
“I don’t agree na nabuhusan ng proyekto ang distrito ng Pampanga because ganun pa rin kung ano ang nasa NEP (National Expenditure Program). Almost the same lang naman. Walang ganung kalaking pinagbago,” Zamora said.
Zamora, who is part of the House small committee constituted to tackle individual amendments of congressmen to the General Appropriations Bill or House Bill No. 8169, also said Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s district only had around P500 million increase from P1.4 billion based on the realignment sent by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“I do not know where the good senator actually got his figures because when I checked on our record, I don’t see any congressperson na may ganung kalaking increase when you compare the NEP to the 3rd Reading version natin sa Congress,” she also said.
COOP-NATCCO Rep. Anthony Bravo, who was also a member of the small panel for the 2019 budget and a member of the chamber’s minority bloc, also said there were other districts that received additional funding from the DPWH.
“There are still other districts that (requested) re-aligned projects and in fact, there are also other districts that (received) additional fund as identified by the DPWH. Zinero in lang natin sa district ni Speaker,” he noted in the same press briefing.
Zamora also defended Arroyo whose district, she believed, was being singled out.
“Well, it is quite unfair naman to really single out the district of Pampanga,” she said.
In a separate briefing, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. argued these adjustments in the 2019 national budget could not be considered “pork barrel” because these were all “itemized” and not “lump-sum appropriations identified by lawmakers after the approval of the budget.” /kga
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