P100M per congressmen in 2020 budget ‘won’t sit well’ with senators — Lacson
MANILA, Philippines — The reported P100-million allocation for each member of the House of Representatives under the proposed P4.1-trillion budget for 2020 “won’t sit well” with senators, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Monday.
Last week, Albay 2nd District Joey Salceda Joey Salceda revealed that each lawmaker at the House would receive at least P100 million in 2020 for their pet projects.
Lacson raised concerns over the said allocation, saying that allocations for each district should not be equal as it should be “need-based” and “priority-based.”
“It won’t sit well with us, sa akin particularly, because hindi dapat pare-pareho ang allocation sa districts (It won’t sit well with us, to me, particularly, because allocations should not be the same for each district),” he told reporters in an interview.
“It should be need-based and priority–based. Because there are districts that would need more than other districts,’’ he added.
While Salceda said the P100-million allocation is already itemized in the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP), Lacson said he could not say if it could be considered as “pork barrel” as the House of Representatives has yet to transmit to the Senate their final version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“Nasaan ang items? Ano ang description? Kung introduce pa lang nila as individual amendments, na bawat isa P100 million, if it is not pork, I don’t know what it is (Where are the items? What is the description? If it will be introduced as individual amendments, that each congressman has P100 million each, if it is not pork, I don’t know what it is),” the senator said.
Lacson revealed that he received information from several congressmen that lawmakers originally planned to be given an allocation of P700 million each and the 22 House deputy speakers will receive P1.5 billion each.
“I hope that does not push through because that was a report transmitted to my office by some congressmen themselves na ‘yan pinag-usapan nila (that’s what they agreed on),” he said.
“When we are talking of P700 million per congressman, times 300, that’s P21 billion. Plus P33 billion per deputy speaker kung matutuloy na (if that will push through) P54 billion in pork,” Lacson added.
The senator, however, assured that the budget will be passed before the end of this year as long as the House transmits the GAB before Congress goes on break on Oct. 4.
On Friday last week, the House approved on third and final reading the proposed 2020 national budget.
However, the House formed a small committee that would collate and approve until September 23 the congressmen’s individual and institutional amendments to the budget bill. /je
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