Bad habits are indeed hard to break.
One reason why I did not attend the signing of the bicam report: Last night after our session, my office received from the House of Representatives through the Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) one USB drive containing two files, the “Source” File and the “List” File.
Our preliminary scrutiny of the last-minute insertions made by the House would indicate that the Source File is the list of 1,253 budget items worth P83.219B that was apparently used as the congressmen’s ‘source’ of their ‘list’ of 742 projects worth P16.345B that were inserted in the bicam report that was signed by both panels this morning.
Since there is no preliminary explanation from the House regarding the two files, we cannot ascertain if indeed only P16.345B or the bigger amount of P83.219B was inserted at the last minute prior to the bicam signing.
What is clear, though, is that there are still lump sums and vaguely described projects that are now part of the bicam report.
Also, our initial check shows the top provinces with huge allocations include:
Also, 117 flood control projects worth P3.179B dominate the insertions, with eight projects uniformly budgeted at P60M each.
There are more corruption-driven insertions in the Files sent to us that I have not mentioned. Thus, we will continue to diligently scrutinize it and inform the DBM and the Office of the President as I have high hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will again display his aversion to corruption.
Pork is here to stay. I hope the President will again exercise his political will in vetoing line items that will obviously waste people’s tax money.
It is revolting to note that legislators keep on dipping their dirty fingers on our national budget in spite of pending cases involving the same issue.