Lacson bares billion-peso lump sums in House version of 2020 budget
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives’ version of the 2020 national budget contains lump sum funds worth billions of pesos, Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Wednesday.
Despite this, Lacson is contemplating whether or not to recommend the adoption of the House version if only to preempt “any possible scheming attempts to make insertions “ at the bicameral conference committee level.
“So far, in fairness to the House leadership, as announced, they only realigned P9.5B which they distributed to DND (Department of National Defense), DA (Department of Agriculture) etc.,” the senator said in a text message.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano himself announced earlier that they realigned P9.5 billion in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget next year.
“If not for a number of lump-sum appropriations which runs to billions of pesos, if I had my way, I would rather adopt the House version as transmitted to the Senate, if only to preempt any possible scheming attempts to make insertions which usually happen during the bicameral conference,” Lacson went on.
He refused though to disclose the exact or estimate figure of alleged lump sum funds in the House version, saying some might just get interested to realign it.
The budget bill was approved by the House on September 20 and was transmitted to the Senate last October 1.
Lacson, known for his anti-pork stand, said he has yet to decide whether or not to recommend to his colleagues the adoption of the House version of the budget in toto.
“I am still deliberating with my wits if adopting the House version will be more beneficial than simply allowing a few billions to remain as lump sum,” he said.
“Of course it goes without saying that being a deliberative body, it is a collective decision of the chamber,” the senator added. /muf
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