Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno denied allegations that the P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017 had pork barrel insertions.
“Ang iniisip niya (Lacson) kung ang nag-identify ng proyekto ay congressman o kaya senador, pork na ‘yun. Hindi naman totoo ‘yun. Kasi ang konsepto ng pork na sinasabi ng Supreme Court, ‘yung during the implementation nakikialam ang congressman at senador. Kung ‘yun ay nilapit mo sa mga department secretaries, hindi naman siguro masama ‘yun” said Diokno.
While Senator Lacson, said “While the Senate was deliberating the 2017 budget in the plenary. Congressmen from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) came to see him to pleading their case.
“Inabot nga kami ng 10 p.m. sa office ko explaining in so many words, thus – “Buti nga sila, tig-P1.5 billion lang na projects. Yung iba raw congressmen abot ng tig-P5 billion,” he said in a statement.
Further, Senator Lacson, said; ‘The roughly P8-billion in pork barrel tucked into the 2017 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways, and reallocated to State Universities and Colleges to allow for free tuition, is back with the DPWH budget.
The P8 billion was restored, through a last-minute tweaking that effectively diluted the impact of the earlier reallocation to free higher education schooling.
The P8 billion was restored to Mindanao solons’ pork via the DPWH by gutting the budgets of disaster agencies.
President Rodrigo Duterte has slashed about P8.5 billion from the Calamity Funds under Special Purpose Funds in 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to regain the P8 billion in monies that Lacson had pushed to transfer from the the public works projects of Mindanao congressmen to the SUCs to allow for free tuition in 2017.
“The Department of Public Works and Highways regained its slashed P8-billion “pork” in the General Appropriations Act of 2017. And additional P497 million, at the expense of the Calamity Fund,” Lacson said.
DPWH got anew P8.57 billion – with an additional P497 million – to boot, as a result of the huge cuts suffered by NDRRMF (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund) or Calamity Fund under the Special Purpose Fund, Sen. Lacson.
As a result, the DPWH fund rose by P9.054 billion (from P445.766 billion to P454.721 billion).
“DPWH regains slashed 8B (pork?), gets 0.5B more. 8.3B free tuition stays, but Calamity Funds suffers cuts, from 37.2B to 15.7B,” Lacson said on Twitter.
Malacañang Palace to the rescue by the President President Duterte’s spokesperson Ernesto Abella. He said the Department of Public Works and Highways would be in charge of projects addressing the effects of calamities.
“The Department of Public Works and Highways is solely responsible for identified projects— from repair and reconstruction of permanent structures to communities or areas affected by man-made and natural calamities,” Duterte’s spokesperson Ernesto Abella
“The President is particularly abhorrent to giving favors to particular individuals … even allies, in line with his inaugural vow to serve every one and not only one,” Abella further said.