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Rep. Yap: Disagreements over 2021 nat’l budget not due to solons’ ‘pork’ 

/ 03:08 PM September 21, 2020
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House committee on appropriations led by ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap holds deliberations on the Office of the President’s proposed budget for 2021. Screenshot from House of Representatives’ youTube.

MANILA, Philippines — The recent disagreements among some members of the House of Representatives over the proposed 2021 national budget are not because of unequal distribution of pork funds, House appropriations committee chair Rep. Eric Yap said Monday.

Yap, of ACT-CIS party-list, made the statement in response to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate who said that the recent quarrel between his colleagues at the lower chamber over alleged favored funding for certain legislative districts are clearly matters of pork.

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“Hindi ko naintindihan kay Congressman Zarate bakit nya sinasabing pork yun. Unang-una, yung mga pinag-aawayan is yung para sa parochial concerns,” Yap said.

(I do not understand why Congressman Zarate is saying that it is pork. First of all, the disagreements are over parochial concerns.)

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“For example, ako sa Benguet, ako iyong congressman ngayon doon. Karapatan ko na makiusap sa executive, baka puwede niya kaming lagyan ng dagdag na kalsada, dagdag na tulay, iyong mga kailangan namin sa probinsya namin,” he added.

(For example, I’m in Benguet, I am the congressman there. I have the right to ask the executive if they can give us funds for roads, bridges, things that we need in our province.)

But these funds are not “pork” allocations, said Yap, adding that distribution of public funds between congressional districts were never the same.

“Hindi naman ibig sabihin, pork ito, na iyong pera sa amin ibinigay. Hindi po. Sa kalsada po ito, sa ospital and yung uneven distribution po, e talagang never naging parehas yan,” Yap said.

(It doesn’t mean that these are pork. It’s not. This is for the roads, for hospitals, and uneven distribution has never been the same.)

“Isipin niyo kung ang Batanes, magkakaroon din siya ng P8 billion, saan po nila ilalagay na infra iyon?” he added.

(Think of Batanes, if they will be given P8 billion, where will they put those funds for infrastructure projects?)

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Yap said there will be a majority caucus to settle the disagreements over the budget.

During the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) budget briefing before the House appropriations panel, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr. questioned the distribution of funds between congressional districts, particularly those of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte in Taguig City and Camarines Sur, respectively.

This led to Teves and Villafuerte firing back allegations against each other—to the point that the two congressmen had a heated argument over Viber.

In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Teves even challenged Villafuerte to a fistfight.

“Sabihin mo kung gusto niya makipagsuntukan, suntukan kami kahit saan. Kahit doon pa sa plenary, puro siya salita,” Teves said.

(He should let me know if he wants to be in a fistfight. Even in plenary, he is all words.)

JPV
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TAGS: 2021 budget, Eric Yap, House of Representatives
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