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Congressmen to get P60M in 2019 budget but Andaya denies it’s pork barrel

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – A lawmaker Tuesday admitted that each legislator will receive up to P60-million worth of project allotments under the proposed P3.757-trillion National Budget for 2019.

Majority Floor Leader Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur) said all congressmen will receive project allotments up to P60 million under next year’s National Expenditure Program (NEP) whether they are supporters or against the present administration.

“Noong nakaraan kasi, meron mga distrito na naparusahan. Nabasawan yung mga serbisyo ant imprastraktura dahil sa kanilang paniniwala sa pagboto nila sa Kamara. Binabago ngayon ni Speaker GMA ang sistema na ‘yan and regardless of your political affiliation, ‘yung distrito mo hindi mapaparusahan,” said Andaya.

Andaya explained that the amount could not be classified as pork barrel funds contrary to the accusations of some senators since the said allotments were all “line items” in the 2019 NEP.

“We are itemizing each and every project na ipo-propose for everyone to see na walang surprises. Ang naging problema kasi before, and that was supported by Supreme Court (SC) rulings, may mga lump sums eh na hindi na-breakdown during the budget authorization stage. So ngayon, itemize na (at) kita na ng lahat,” said Andaya.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier accused former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of distributing P60-million worth of pork barrel funds for each House members.

But Andaya stressed that that no member of Congress including Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or any senators can arbitrarily order to released the funding for the said allotment to every congressional
districts.

“A Speaker has no power to distribute projects… walang karapatan o kapangyarihan ang sinuman sa Senado o House of Representatives na magpamudmod ng pondo para sa proyekto,” he said.