Bicam report keeps ‘pork’ insertions in 2019 budget — Lacson
MANILA, Philippines— The alleged billions worth of “pork” insertions by congressmen and some senators have been retained in the 2019 national budget, Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Thursday.
“Yes, the P160 million per cong plus the billion peso insertions made by a number of their colleagues, and the P23 billion DPWH insertions by a number of senators plus other insertions in different agencies have all been retained,” Lacson said in a text message to reporters.
Senators met in a caucus late Wednesday night to discuss the 2019 budget, which remains pending at the bicameral conference committee.
During the caucus, Lacson said Senator Loren Legarda articulated the bicam report that would be presented for ratification on Friday by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
As chair of the Senate committee on finance, Legarda chairs the Senate contingent in the bicam on the 2019budget.
“Sadly, no matter how hard I argued last night, I only have one vote although I have good reason to believe that some like-minded colleagues are supportive of deleting all pork insertions, particularly the excessive and unconscionable realignments made not only by our HOR counterpart, but by a number of our colleagues as well,” Lacson said.
While the alleged “pork” insertions remained intact in the budget, Lacson noted that all funding for flood control, particularly dredging, desilting and the like have been deleted to be realigned to capital outlay for purchase of dredging machines.
The Senate’s realignments on the Department of Health’s budget and most of his institutional amendments, he said, have also been retained.
“More than that, hopefully, I was able to enlighten the public because of the public discourse that transpired, for or against the outlawed pork barrel. I would say, we have gained some headway in this regard, “ Lacson said.
He nevertheless expressed hope President Rodrigo Duterte and his economic managers would still scrutinize further the final version of the budget bill that Congress would pass.
The senator also reiterated his earlier call for the President to use his veto power to delete all “pork” in the budget. /muf
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