Gonzales says Senate approved funding for AKAP | Inquirer News

Magic project? Gonzales says Senate approved funding for AKAP

/ 11:07 AM February 14, 2024

PHOTO: Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. STORY: Magic project? Gonzales says Senate approved funding for AKAP

Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. (File photo from the Facebook account of the House of Representatives)

MANILA, Philippines — Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. clarified on Wednesday that the Senate approved the government’s new cash aid program for the near-poor, amid claims that it was ‘alien’ to some senators.

During a press briefing at the House complex, Gonzales presented the exact page of the then-proposed 2024 national budget where provisions for the P26.7-billion Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program were stated.


Gonzales then showed that Senator Imee Marcos — who questioned why these funds existed in the first place — signed the same page in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) during the bicameral conference committee hearing.


“Para malinawan lang po natin, ito po oh, nakabilog ‘yong pangalan niya (Senator Marcos), na pumirma siya sa bicam report, sana po tinignan niya ‘to, this P26.7 billion. Binulugan ko po ‘yong pangalan niya, ako po nakapirma po ako dito,” Gonzales said.

(Just for clarity, it is here, her name, that she signed the bicameral conference committee report. I hope she looked at this P26.7 billion. I encircled her name. I was also a signatory of this document.)

Gonzales’ statement in the briefing complements his earlier statement that the AKAP was acknowledged by the Senate when it approved the 2024 national budget.

In a statement, Gonzales said the P26.7-billion Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) was acknowledged by the Senate when it approved the then-proposed 2024 national budget.

Gonzales said the 2024 budget was approved by the Senate on November 28, 2023, obtaining 21 affirmative votes.

“AKAP is part of the 2024 national budget. The Senate gave its stamp of approval on AKAP when it passed the then proposed P5.768-trillion outlay for this year in plenary last Nov. 28,” he said.


“It would be absurd now for senators to be questioning the AKAP and other assistance funds included in the national budget and administered by the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) because they approved it,” he added.

It was Sen. Marcos who said on Tuesday that the said program was unknown to senators — especially her, since she sponsored the 2024 budget of the DSWD when it was still being deliberated at the Senate floor.

Marcos also speculated that the AKAP funds were used to entice people into signing in favor of the people’s initiative campaign to amend the Constitution, which some senators believe was being orchestrated by House leaders.

READ: DSWD defends AKAP: ‘We don’t create magical projects’

But Gonzales asked why the Senate is questioning AKAP now when the senators voted in favor of the 2024 national budget.

“They are estopped from speaking against or criticizing what they have approved, unless they tell us now that (they) voted ‘yes’ without reading the budget or at least the conference committee report, which is a summary of the outlay,” he said.

“(Questioning the 2024 budget now) would also mean questioning the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to sign the then budget bill into law,” he added.

AKAP was first mentioned to the media after the bicameral conference committee on the then-proposed 2024 national budget held its final meeting on December 13. After the hearing, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co who heads the House Committee on Appropriations said that it would include a P60 billion allocation for AKAP, targeting around 12 million households.

Further clarification with Co’s office showed that funds for the AKAP would be part of the locally-funded projects of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. However, part of it will also come from unprogrammed funds — items in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) which will only be activated if the government has savings or excess revenues.

Co said that the one-time P5,000 cash aid to workers earning less than P23,000 per month is meant to cover workers who might not receive aid from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) but are still in need of help.

READ: Workers earning no more than P23,000 monthly to get P5,000 aid – House 

On Tuesday, Co accused Senator Marcos of dirtying the AKAP program by linking it to the PI.

The House and the Senate have been at odds recently due to discussions about amending the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions. Last December, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Gonzales brought up the possibility of hearing charter change proposals again to open restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution.

However, Gonzales said they may entertain charter change through a people’s initiative (PI) as the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 was not acted upon by the Senate.

But after the PI gained traction, the Senate accused the House of being behind the campaign, even claiming that the PI intends to abolish the Senate, by introducing joint voting in deciding on the proposed constitutional amendments.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Romualdez and other House leaders have denied being behind the PI, saying several times that they do not intend to abolish the Senate. Instead, lawmakers reiterated that they were calling for a constituent assembly through RBH No. 6 — where two Houses of Congress would vote separately.

TAGS: Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Senate

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.