It seems that House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his confidantes are not giving up on the multi-billion infrastructure programs that were either red-flagged by the Department of Budget and Management or realigned to the government’s COVID-19 response.
Politiko/Abante learned from congressional insiders that Cayetano has found a way using the COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Bill to revive those more than P80-billion worth of infra programs scrapped by Budget Sec. Wendel Avisado after its was identified as “For Later Release” category, as well as the other multi-billion district allocations which were rechanneled to the government’s social amelioration programs for those affected by the global coronavirus pandemic.
House Bill no. 6709 or the CURES Bill which was authored by Cayetano and Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte was approved on final reading last week.
The source said that through the P1.5-trillion CURES Bill, Cayetano and his henchmen will be able to resurrect the supposed “pork barrel” funds which were considered dead last April after its was either purged by the DBM or realigned under the Heal As One Act since majority of the program under the proposed legislation were in lump sum funds.
“They are attempting to resurrect a ‘double-dead’ pork barrel. Kung sa baboy, ‘botcha’ ito. It was struck down twice already but it seems that they are trying to revive it again,” the source claimed.
Cayetano’s CURES Bill geared towards spearheading sustainable jobs that will provide employment and income-earning opportunities in areas affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
But House Assistant Minority Floor Leader Castro warned that the CURES Bill, once enacted into law will only “pave the way for a scandal ten times worse than the Napoles scam” considering that there are no specific line item programs provided in the measure.
“Tila pumipirma tayo ng isang blankong tseke na ihahandog sa pangulo para sa isang spending spree sa kung anong mga proyektong nanaisin niya. At dahil pork barrel, saan mapupunta ang 1.5 trillion?” Castro warned.
She also stressed that the CURES Bill will only encourage “political patronage” and it’s just a disguise fundraising operation by the proponents of the measure of the upcoming 2022 national elections.
“Political patronage, electoral war chest patungong 2022—hindi sa job creation, hindi pagtugon sa krisis buhat ng COVID-19… with all these flaws, the CURES bill will be worse than the disease. I therefore vote no,” said Castro.