Palace: Claims of P10-B ‘pork variant’ in 2022 budget a ‘hallucination’
MANILA, Philippines — The P10-billion Growth Equity Fund (GEF) claimed by a lawmaker for supposedly being a new variant of illegal pork barrel is just a “hallucination,” Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the GEF under the Local Government Support Fund questioned by Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas would be allocated to fourth-, fifth- and sixth-class municipalities.
“Guni guni lang po yan,” Roque said when sought to comment on Brosas’ statement.
(That’s just a hallucination.)
“Ibibigay po natin ito sa mga fourth-, fifth- and sixth-class municipalities. Kung hindi po yan specified, well, at least, masasabi po yan sa Kongreso na it will go to the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-class municipalities,” he added.
(This will be given to the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-class municipalities. If it’s not specified, well, at least, we can tell Congress it will go to fourth-, fifth- and sixth-class municipalities.)
The Philippine Statistics Authority defined fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-class municipalities as those with an average annual income of P25-34 million, P15-24 million, and below P15 million, respectively.
Brosas said the P10-billion allocation to the GEF “looks more like Greater Election Fund, as it can be arbitrarily used to ensure votes for Duterte and his top bets in the 2022 elections.”
The GEF is meant to help local governments implement the Mandanas ruling, which entitled LGUs to a share of all national taxes, not just the internal revenue taxes as previously done.
Under the 2022 National Expenditure Program, the funds for the GEF will be used “as financial assistance to the identified poor, disadvantaged, and lagging LGUs for the implementation of various infrastructure projects to gradually enable the full and efficient implementation of the functions and services devolved to the local government.”
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