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Budget ‘insertion-free’ after funds assured for all districts

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WAYS and Means committee chair and Albay 2nd District Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said Wednesday that each congressman will receive P100 million for their districts in the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget, adding that the budget process so far has been free of “insertions.”

“To ensure na everybody has some minimum, P100 [million] each,” Mr. Salceda said in an economic briefing at the Palace Wednesday when asked about allocations for congressmen.

He added: “They were itemized in the NEP (National Expenditure Program).”

Asked about the budget process for such allocations, Budget Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua said in a mobile phone message to BusinessWorld: “This happens at the final stage when they are in the bicameral stage.”

In chance remarks, Mr. Salceda told reporters that legislators forward their proposals to the Executive department “for inclusion.”

“We propose for inclusion,” he said.




He said such funding is not “pork” by the definition adopted by the Supreme Court decision.

Asked about the use of the funds, Mr. Salceda said: “Hindi naman puro DSWD ‘yon (it’s not all for social welfare projects) contrary to your expectation. Some of them go to DepEd (Department of Education) for school buildings.”

“It is pork-free based on the Supreme Court’s standards, he said, adding that the budget is making good progress with none of the “insertions” that marred last year’s process.

“Zero individual amendments unlike last year, unlike so many years wherein you realign this and that. There are no individual ammendments. There are only three institutional amendments,” he said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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