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Arroyo leads restoration of ‘pork barrel’ for legislators

29 November 2018

Happy days are back for legislators following the decision of the House to include pork barrel allocations in the proposed P3.757-trillion budget of the national government for 2019.

House majority leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said the P51.792 billion lump sum item with no details in next year’s budget proposal would be divided among the senators and congressmen to fund their pet projects.

The pork barrel funds were removed from the budget when the Duterte administration assumed power following the controversies and the Supreme Court ruling that declared as unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) under the previous administration.

But then, Andaya, who was budget secretary under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said that without funds for congressional districts in the budget, some districts got a low of P200 million to as much as P6 billion each.

Restoring the funding mechanism, he said, would equalize the allocation of resources among legislative districts across the country.

But Andaya said it would not be called pork barrel funds in respect to the Supreme Court ruling on the PDAF and DAP.

The funds would rather be called proposals for congressional districts which, by practice, would be the same as the pork barrel funding system.

Earlier, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Arroyo, who is now speaker of the House, has been leading the move to restore the pork barrel allocations, in an apparent move to consolidate the legislators and speed up the approval of the 2019 budget proposal before the end of year.

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