LP defends Roxas’ ‘pork’-A A +A
Monday, August 26, 2013
MEMBERS of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) on Monday defended the so-called pork barrel funds of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
Representatives Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar said the P1.9-billion fund questioned by United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Secretary General Tobias Tiangco is a continuing appropriation of a specific agency earmarked to improve the living condition of the poor.
Tiangco earlier criticized the P76 million appropriation earmarked for climate change adaptation, the P573 million for potable water supply for waterless municipalities and barangays, and P1.25 billion for housing intended for informal settlers in Metro Manila.
Evardone noted that these appropriations had long been earmarked for DILG since the time of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, who was vice chair of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC).
"All these items—climate change adaptation, potable water supply, and housing for informal settlers— were meant to make our countrymen resilient in times of calamity and disaster," Evardone said.
As DILG Secretary, Roxas is the concurrent vice chair for disaster preparedness of the NDRMMC.
Sarmiento, for his part, explained that the projects mentioned by UNA were being implemented through DILG in compliance with the Philippines’ commitment to the Hyogo Framework for Action, a 10-year plan approved by the United Nations to make the world safer from disaster and hazards.
Sarmiento is the secretary general of the LP.
"Malinaw ang benepisyaryo ng mga proyektong ito: mga informal settler families na nangangailangan ng relokasyon at mahihirap na kababayan natin sa mga low-income municipalities. Masama ba na tulungan sila?" he said.
Sarmiento further explained that the appropriation questioned has been included in DILG budget since 2010, when the agency was identified as among the top government departments in charge of disaster risk reduction.
Asked by reporters on the issue in Pangasinan, Vice President Jejomar Binay said public funds should not be used for politics.
"Merong mga, 'yung mga budget ng mga agencies ng gobyerno ginagamit sa eleksyon. Pero talagang bawal naman 'yun," he said.
Binay and Roxas are said to square off again in 2016 for the right to succeed President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang.
Binay's daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, was surprised by her party’s revelations. She called on the public to be vigilant and participate in the budget process by attending congressional hearings. (Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)