By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter
HOUSE Majority Leader Rolando G. Andaya, Jr. of the 1st district of Camarines Sur defended the additional P9-billion financial assistance fund to local government units (LGUs) as “executive pork.”
“Well, if you really want to be technical about it, that’s executive pork because that will fall completely under the control of the Executive,” Mr. Andaya said in a press briefing.
He added: “That will fall under the control of the Secretary of DBM (Department of Budget and Management). Not under Congress because the guidelines on how, when, where it should be released will be determined by the DBM. Walang papel ang congressman (The congressman has no role there). That is executive pork, if you want to be blunt about it.”
Mr. Andaya said this in response to Senator Panfilo M. Lacson’s concern over the Assistance to LGUs which rose to P16 billion in the 2019 General Appropriations Bill, higher than the P7 billion proposed under the National Expenditure Program.
The Senator also said the increase was made without consultations with DBM, which Mr. Andaya argued was no longer necessary.
“Nasa part na po tayo ngayon ng budget authorization. Wala na pong papel ang DBM. Hindi nga, kahit hindi mo na siya konsultahin,” he said. (We are at the point of budget authorization. The DBM no longer has a role in this. There’s no need to consult them.)
The Majority Leader addressed more of Mr. Lacson’s allegations, particularly the P2.4-billion allocation in the district of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the P1.9 billion in his district.
“Diretsuhin na po natin, I think the persons referred to are the Speaker and myself na lumalabas na napalaki ng allocation na binigay sa mga distrito. Just to clarify ang allocation ng ating Speaker, she’s actually ranked about 100. Around 99 congressmen na mas malaki po ang allocation sa kanilang distrito,” Mr. Andaya said. (Let’s get to the point, I think the persons referred to are the Speaker and myself, who appears to have huge district allocations. Just to clarify, on the allocation of the Speaker, she’s actually ranked about 100. Around 99 congressmen had higher district allocations.)
“Ang sa akin naman po, I am ranked 186th sa allocation sa mga distrito. Kung titingnan po natin ang probinsya ng Pampanga, ‘yung kay Speaker hindi pa rin po sa kanya malaking allocation. May mas malaking allocation sa distrito sa kanya at doon naman sa akin sa Camarines Sur, ako po ang pinakamaliit na allocation sa aming pong probinsya,” he added. (In my case, I am ranked 186th in terms of district allocations. If we look at it, the Speaker’s district didn’t even get the highest allocation in Pampanga, whereas my district in Camarines Sur got the lowest in the province.)
According to Mr. Andaya, the lawmaker whose district ranked the highest in terms of funding received “around P8 billion.” The Majority Leader refused to name the district and representative.