MANILA

Gonzales assures budget bill is 'pork-free'

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HOUSE Deputy Speaker Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II on Tuesday, October 1, assured that the budget bill transmitted to the Senate this morning is pork free.

“Again and again, we contend that it is a pork-free budget as we strictly confined ourselves to the decision of the Supreme Court which declared the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) unconstitutional and prohibited the post-enactment identification of projects,” Gonzales said.

“Now, the Senate can finally see for themselves,” he added.

According to Gonzales, the 2020 General Appropriations Bill will be referred to the Senate committee on finance later this afternoon.

The House of Representatives’ budget bill contains a total of P9.52 billion worth of realignments.

Among the agencies which received additional funding are the Department of Agriculture which got an additional P3.5 billion, the Department of Education which received an additional P800 million and the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of National Defense which got P1 billion each for the development of police and military camps.

The House identified two sources of funds which have been realigned. These are the P3.75 billion for right-of-way payments under the Department of Public Works and Highways and P5.7 billion for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections which the Congress has agreed to postpone.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson earlier disclosed that the House inserted a total of P54 billion worth of pork allocations in the national budget.

Lacson alleged that the amount is intended for the 22 Deputy Speakers of the House who will each receive P1.5 billion.

This has been disputed by House leaders, including House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano who maintained that there is no pork in the House’s version of the 2020 General Appropriations Bill. (JNC/SunStar Philjppines)


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