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Extra pork! Realignment of P51.7B midnight insertion delays 2019 budget approval, Tinio says

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The realignment of the more than P51.7-billion “midnight insertions” has reportedly delayed the approval of the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 on Wednesday, according to militant party-list solon.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said with the deadline of the submission of individual amendments set only two days prior to the congressional recess, it was impossible for the House of Representatives to immediately pass on final reading next year’s National Expenditure Program (NEP).

“Dito ‘yan (pupunta)—diyan aaregluhin ‘yan (during the break). Ang sinabi naming diyan, magiging pork din ‘yan. Mga pet projects ng mga kongresista. Paghahati-hatian iyan,” said Tinio.

Tinio said House Speaker Gloria Arroyo has not given yet an answer or an update on the realignment of the “parked pork” allotments which were allegedly spearheaded by the previous leadership under now deposed House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.

“Ito nga yung tinatanong namin nung budget deliberations, anong mangyayari sa P51 billion na sabi nung House leadership eh insertions ng Alvarez group,” said Tinio.

Tinio also criticized the decision of the House leadership to create a small committee which will tackle the proposed individual amendments of each lawmaker instead of discussing it in the House plenary.

“Hindi transparent ang magiging proseso nito dahil labas na ito sa open deliberations na ginanap… itong panahon na ito, ito yung panahon ng insertions… kung saan mapupunta ‘yang P51 billion na ‘yan,” said Tinio.

The House of Representatives will resume its deliberations for the 2019 NEP on November 12.