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Andaya disputes Lacson’s claim: GMA won’t get P606M in farm-to-market funds

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

House committee on appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. denied Senator Ping Lacson’s assertion that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s district in Pampanga would receive as much as P606 million in farm-to-market roads.

“There is no basis to make such a conclusion. What we signed are the total increases per department,” he said in a statement.

“Definitely, the Speaker’s district is not receiving that amount for farm-to-market roads. Nowhere in the bicam report which we furnished media does it appear that way,” Andaya said.

The House and the Senate ratified the bicameral conference report on the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 on Friday.

Lacson, who dissented to the ratification, said in a privilege speech on the Senate plenary floor that funding for farm-to-market (FMR) roads in Arroyo’s district ballooned from P35 million to P606 million after the House went through it.

“In the second legislative district of Pampanga, there are only five FMR projects worth P35 million under the NEP, but, lo and behold, it increased to 76 FMR projects amounting to P606 million under the House version, and which is now part of the bicameral committee report that we are about to vote on to ratify,” he said.

Arroyo represents the second district.

Andaya, however, said there was no basis for Lacson’s calculation.

“Both Houses will only start detailing of increases per department on Monday. Only when that is completed can we apply random sampling. Not even a senator can, at this point, determine the exact amount or specifics of the amendments approved in the bicam,” he said.

“We remain true to our commitment of transparency and accountability. We will furnish media again of the details of each district allocation once it is ready for final printing,” Andaya said.

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