Contrary to earlier claim, Salceda says not all lawmakers will get P100-M
MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to his earlier statement, House ways and means panel chair and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda is now saying that not all congressmen would get P100 million worth of pet projects in the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020.
Salceda, a vice-chair of the powerful appropriations committee, said in a Palace press conference Wednesday that each 299 House members would get P70 million for infrastructure projects and P30 million for soft projects such as medical assistance.
But in a statement Thursday, Salceda clarified that all projects identified by lawmakers were allocated funding under the proposed 2020 budget “based on the needs of their constituents.”
“The earlier statement of House appropriations vice-chair Rep. Joey Salceda about each congressman supposedly getting P100 million each under the proposed budget does not mean that each member of the House would be able to identify and recommend projects worth that amount,” the statement reads.
“Since the needs of the people in each congressional district are not the same, the allocations are also not the same,” he added.
The congressman also said that just like senators, governors, mayors and barangay officials, members of Congress could only recommend projects for their respective areas, while it was the executive department which would vet, classify and approve which programs were in line with priorities.
“All projects identified by representatives of congressional districts and party-list groups that were included by the Executive Department in the NEP (National Expenditure Program), were deemed necessary based on the complete work plans and feasibility studies that were submitted by the district, provincial or regional authorities of the various departments,” Salceda added.
The House member also repeated his earlier remark that these allocations were itemized in the proposed expenditure and could not be considered as pork barrel.
The lower chamber will squeeze in one day the submission of amendments to the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget as well as the second and final reading approval of the budget bill on Friday, September 20. This came after President Rodrigo Duterte earlier certified the 2020 budget bill as urgent./ac
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