Districts have different needs, Lacson says of P100M for lawmakers' projects

Districts have different needs, Lacson says of P100M for lawmakers' projects
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said allocations for each member of the House of Representatives should be need-based and priority-based.
Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson has expressed disapproval over the P100 million allocated for each member of the House of Representatives in the proposed 2020 national budget.

Rep. Joey Salceda (Albay), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, earlier said 70% of the fund allocation would go to infrastructure while the remaining 30% would be for bankroll soft projects.

Lacson, meanwhile, said allocations for each lawmaker should be based on needs and priorities.

"By their own admission at least ni Rep. Salceda, P100 (million) per congressman, it won't sit well with us, sa akin particularly, because hindi dapat pare-pareho ang allocation sa districts," Lacson said.

(By their own admission, or at least of Rep. Salceda, the P100 million per congressman won't sit well with us. Particularly with me because districts shouldn't have equal allocations) 

The senator added that some districts need more than others do.

"Bakit mo gagawin equal ang distribution ng infrastructure and even soft projects na P70 million ang infra and soft 30 million, mukhang hindi tama," the senator said.

(Why make the distribution for infrastructure proejects equal at P70 million and even 'soft' projects at P30 million. That doesn't seem right)

"Soft" projects, in contrast to "hard" ones like roads and buildings, include scholarships, social services and training programs. 

'Pork battle' on again

Lacson has also declared a "pork battle" as the Senate has yet to approve its own version of the proposed budget for next year.

Salceda earlier said the allocated P100 million per lawmaker in the proposed budget is not "pork barrel," which the Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional. The court, in its 2013 ruling on pork barrel, held that "the defining feature of all forms of Congressional Pork Barrel would be the authority of legislators to participate in the post-enactment phases of project implementation," which it deemed illegal.

According to Salceda, the P70 million per lawmaker for infrastructure were itemized under the National Expenditure Program, the basis of the General Appropriations bill.

"It is pork-free based on Supreme Court standards. And the mere fact that there were no new insertions," Salceda earlier said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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