Aquino admin inserts ‘pork barrel’ in 2016 budget—Colmenares
An opposition congressman is looking into lump-sum appropriations or discretionary funds the Aquino administration has allegedly inserted in the proposed 2016 national budget, which he defined as pork barrel in disguise.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Neri Colmanares on Tuesday said a 325-billion peso lump sum funds have been filed in the proposed P3.002-trillion budget for next year.
“[Y]ung lump sum ng Malacañang ang dami, parang bilyon bilyon. Sigurado pork barrel yan, at yun ang depinisyon ng pork barrel (The lump sum from Malacañang is a lot, probably in billions of pesos. For sure it’s pork barrel and that’s the definition of pork barrel),” Colmenares said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer.
Colmenares said there are only three allowable lump sum fund. One is the calamity-and-relief fund, the intelligence fund and the miscellaneous fund. He added these funds are often used by the administration to “hype bigger funds.”
“Ang calamity, relief and rescue, lump sum yan in the sense na ‘oo nga naman hindi mo mapipigilan ang bagyo.’ Pero yung mga repair of roads, rehabilitation, paggawa ng bahay [at] tulay, hindi pwedeng i-lump sum kase alam mo yun dapat eh. Nalaman mo nga na dapat ayusin yung kalsada kase nireport ng LGU sayo na sira na yung kalsada. So basically ‘yun ‘yon,” he said.
(Calamity, relief and rescue; they’re all [included in the] lump sum in the sense that ‘you can’t prevent typhoons’. But road repairs, rehabilitation, building of houses and bridges, you can’t [classify them] as lump sum funds because you’re supposed to know that. You’d know there are road repairs because it’s reported by the LGUs.)
Colmenares added the administration has been using road repairs and rehabilitation as an excuse to use lump sum fund as pork barrel.
“Pero sinasadya ng Malacañang, repair-rehab pero lump sum (60) sixty million [pesos]. Pag tinanong sila kung saan yan ‘ah repair ito. Repair’ repair nga naman pero kung saan dadalhin yung kunyareng repair, sila na lang nakakakaalam,” he said. “Hindi maganda yan sa budget kase [not] transparent yan, lalo na kapag ang Presidente o alipores ng cabinet member, corruption yan eh.”
(Malacañang deliberately does repair-rehab but its lump sum is sixty million pesos. If they’re asked what for, they’d say it’s for repair. They call it repair but it’s just a front. Where they’re going to bring this so-called repair, they’re the only ones who know it. It’s not good for the budget because it’s transparent, especially if you’re the President or an ally of a cabinet member. That’s corruption.)
Colmenares lambasted the administration for the misuse of Yolanda rehabilitation fund.
“Ang total na nakuha na calamity fund talaga almost 200 billion (pesos) para sa Yolanda rehabilitation. Pero napagawa nilang bahay, 2000 lang eh, 100,000 ang target. Saan na yung pera? Saan na yung donation?” he said.
(The total amount of the calamity fund is almost 200 billion pesos for the Yolanda rehabilitation. But the houses they’ve built are around 2000 only. The target is 100,000. Where’s the money? Where’s the donation?)
Colmenares added the Philippines could have been a more progressive country if its funds have been properly utilized in the last 15 to 20 years.
“Kaya hanggang hating gabi kaming nag-aaral ng budget kasi tingin namin kapag hindi mo nabantayan lalaki pa lalo ang pagwaldas pagnakaw nila dyan eh,” he said.
(That’s why we study the budget [proposals] till midnight because we think if they’re not properly guarded, the amount they’ll squander, rob will be bigger.) Angeli Mae S. Cantillana and Robert A. Vergara, Jr., OJTs, INQUIRER.net/TVJ
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