Drilon vows to ‘weed out pork’ from 2020 nat’l budget
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday vowed to “weed out pork” from the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget.
This is amid reports that some P35 billion in pork barrel funds of senators and congressmen will be embedded in next year’s national budget.
Drilon assured that the Senate minority is prepared to scrutinize the budget.
“Whether it is pork or beef, we will find out when the budget is submitted to us. We will question it and exert every effort to weed out pork from the national budget,” Drilon said in a statement.
“The minority is prepared to scrutinize the budget to make sure that every item in the budget is in accordance with the Constitution and the Supreme Court ruling on the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund), and is for the best interest of the public, not the lawmakers,” he added.
Also known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the “pork barrel” was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC) in 2013.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is expected to submit the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP) to Congress next week after President Rodrigo Duterte approved it Monday night.
Drilon noted that pork barrel insertions by some lawmakers caused the three-month delay in the approval of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
He then acknowledged that getting rid of “pork” is a challenge to the new leadership of the Senate, particularly the Senate Committee on Finance currently headed by Senator Sonny Angara.
However, Drilon expressed confidence that Angara would make sure that the national budget would be “pork-free.”
“It’s a challenge to all of us in the Senate, particularly the committee that hears the budget each year. We are confident that Senator Angara will see to it that the budget is ‘pork-free,’” he said. /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.