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Congressman rejects ‘pork’ claims in House budget

congressman rejects pork claims in house budget - Congressman rejects ‘pork’ claims in House budget

A LEGISLATOR said Friday that the 2020 budget approved last week by the House of Representatives contained no “pork,” contrary to allegations made by a Senator.

Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Michael T. Defensor rejected claims by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson that all 22 deputy speakers each have an additional allocation of P1.5 billion, while each member of the House has been P700 million.

“Walang pork barrel dito sa naipasang (budget) (There is no pork barrel in the approved budget) and the Senate can scrutinize it. Ito naman ay isusumite sa kanila. (It will be submitted to them anyway). Pangalawa, yung budget na sinasabi sa deputy speakers, wala rin pong ganun (There is no extra funding for deputy speakers)“ Mr. Defensor said in a news conference.

He added that the approved budget for the House was P15.6 billion, higher than last year’s P14 billion.

“Because the increase of the budget was from P14 billion… to P15.6 billion. Kapag dinivide mo ‘yan, halos pantay lang (most members will receive reoughly the same amount). In fact, di naman pera ng congressmen ‘yan, kasi yang pondong yan kasama yung mga empleyado ng kongreso, security guard, operating expenses, kuryente, tubig (those funds aren’t for congressmen but for their operating expenses, employees, and utilities)” Mr. Defensor said.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Jose Ma. S. Salceda said earlier that legislators will receive about P100 million each under the proposed 2020 national budget.

In response, Mr. Defensor, who is also the vice chairperson of the House committee on health, said that he requested P500 million to address issues in provincial hospitals.

“Yung P100 million was part of the submission… Ang totoong ni-request ko is about P500 million. Bakit? Kausap ko yung Tawi-Tawi kailangan nila dun ng improvement sa ospital. Kausap ko yung sa Ifugao, yung sa pagtatapos ng kanilang ospital. Kausap ko yung magtatayo ng dialysis centers sa Pampanga at Batangas, pero di ko inexpect na maapprove ako. Request ko lang yun at batay lang yun sa nakikita ko sa nakikita kong pangangailangan sa baba (The 100 million was part of the submission because I requested about P500 million for health facilities in Tawi-Tawi, Ifugao, Pampanga and Batangas. That’s just what I requested based on what I saw were the needs on the ground).“ he said.

“Habang pinapalaki natin ang pondo ng PhilHealth, pagalingin din natin yung mga local hospitals natin para may mapuntahan ang mga tao at di masyadong mahal (While we are providing funds for PhilHealth, we need t improve local hospitals so patients can visit a facility at little expense),” he said.

The P88 billion proposed budget of the Department of Health was slashed by around P10 billion for health services. Meanwhile, government subsidies to PhilHealth and government hospitals have a total allocation of P71.4 billion. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

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