President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to restore the budget of Ilocos Norte’s second district for 2019, a year after its funding was reduced to zero by Congress under the leadership of then-House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Duterte made the assurance Sunday (September 16) after Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos told her about the damage that the second district suffered during Typhoon Ompong.
The province’s second district is represented in Congress by Marcos’ mother, Imelda.
“Sir, if you recall, Congress gave zero budget to the second district of Ilocos Norte. And most of the damages, as a result, are in that district. Five hundred plus million were destroyed because they were not finished or discontinued or were allowed to deteriorate,” Marcos said during the situation briefing in Ilocos Norte.
Duterte said he will see to it that the budget of the Marcoses’ bailiwick is restored in the proposed 2019 national budget, which is currently being discussed by Congress.
“Kaya nga, naintindihan na kita nung sinabi mo na… So we will try to return that immediately,” he said.
Ilocos Norte’s second district was among the districts which received zero budget for 2018. Sources said the budget cut happened during bicameral conference committee in 2017, on Alvarez’s instructions.
Marcos is a political rival of Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, who was the Majority Floor Leader of the House when the 2018 national budget was passed.