Tag: Anti-Pork

#PINGterview: P68B Skeleton Projects, Isantabi Muna sa 2021

In an interview on DZBB, Sen. Lacson addressed questions on:
* realigning P68B in ‘skeleton projects’ for areas hit by recent typhoons
* reports of getting COVID-19 vaccine

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Skeleton Infra Projects! First Day of Senate Floor Deliberations on the 2021 Budget

On the first day of floor deliberations on the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill, Sen. Lacson revealed several ‘skeleton projects‘ of the DPWH to illustrate “how acts of corruption are committed than by the misuse and abuse of public funds. Not anymore by the hundreds of thousands but by the millions of pesos wasted during implementation of the national budget.”

Sen. Lacson suggested that the funds for the skeleton projects, including at least P68B for multi-purpose buildings (MPBs) go to items that need funding more in the budget, such as the National Broadband Program. He also questioned the ‘FLR’ (For Later Release) practice of the DBM.

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On Corruption at DPWH: Secretary’s ‘Authority’ vs Congressmen’s ‘Influence’

The DPWH Secretary has full authority to assign personnel under his department, including the district engineers, unless he delegates it to his regional directors or if Malacañang overrides the assignments on very few occasions.

We also know that district representatives almost always use their influence in having their “favorite” district engineers assigned to their districts for a very obvious purpose: to have full control in the implementation of their “pet projects” funded by their insertions in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The question is, can the DPWH Secretary stand up to the pressure exerted on him by the congressmen? As we already know, the answer is obviously no. And no matter how the secretary denies it, nobody is ready to believe him. We also know that it is the root cause of corruption.

Almost anything that has to do with politics in this country breeds corruption. Politics becomes evil when self-aggrandizement and greed come into play – whether it is in aid of reelection or enrichment of an elected official while in power, the result is the same. Worse, these people do not know when to stop once they have started.

We only need to drive around the country to see and experience it everyday, in the form of dilapidated and substandard roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects. Potholes and clogged drainage are commonplace during and after the rains; worn-out infra projects even only after a few years of construction and inaugurations, and many more evidence in plain sight.

This is the main reason why I abhor and remain outspoken against the pork barrel system more than a decade before the Supreme Court ruled on its unconstitutionality in 2013. The national budget is the most violated, if not the most abused law of the land. The abominable part is, the violators are lawmakers and those tasked to implement the GAA. That is why we are so screwed up as a country for as long as we remember politicians.

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#PINGterview: ‘Uniform’ Appropriations for Several Districts Spotted in DPWH’s 2021 Budget

In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* P1-M ‘uniform’ appropriations for at least 42 congressional districts in DPWH’s 2021 budget
* need to prioritize vaccines, R&D in 2021 budget

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#PINGterview: Updates on the 2021 Budget, Anti-Terror Law IRR

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ‘violations’ by the House in passing the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill
* possible institutional amendments for R&D, COVID vaccines
* implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

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On the House Continuing to Tackle Amendments After Approving the 2021 Budget Bill

Last Oct. 16, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the P4.5-trillion proposed national budget for 2021. Yet as of today, it continues to tackle amendments via the so-called “small group.”

Art. VI, Sec. 26, Paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution is unequivocally clear, regardless of where the amendments will come from. Wala namang sinasabi ang Constitution na pag naghahabol ng “errata,” hindi ito applicable: “Upon the last reading of a bill, NO AMENDMENT THERETO SHALL BE ALLOWED, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.”

The claim of the House Appropriations Committee chair that the “errata” a.k.a. amendments will come from the implementing agencies and not from the individual House members will further muddle an already constitutionally infirm and error-filled budget measure. Why? The authorization part of the four-phase budget process is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress, and the executive should deal only with budget preparation and execution.

No amount of technicalities and sweet-talk maneuvers can correct a flawed budget that is supposed to address the problems and concerns of more than 100 million Filipinos.

It is time that we correct the mindset of the so-called representatives of the people in this regard.

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On the House’s Nov. 5 Transmittal of the 2021 Budget Bill to the Senate

If the House of Representatives’ transmittal of the General Appropriations Bill to the Senate will be on Nov. 5 or 6, there is no assurance that we can pass the budget on time and thus avoid a re-enacted budget.

As they have promised the President, they will approve the GAB on third and final reading today, Oct. 16, and it only takes one week to print, so why Nov. 5?

Not only is the delay unacceptable. It is difficult to understand, unless there are plans to amend the bill after the third reading.

That said, the House leadership should be reminded to adhere to Art. VI, Sec. 26 of the Constitution that says: “Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed…xxx

Amid promises of “best efforts” to transmit the budget bill by end-October, if the House still ends up transmitting the bill on Nov. 5, does it mean that the description “House of the People” is all lip service?

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#PINGterview: Walang Pondo para sa COVID-19 Vaccine/Response sa 2021 kung Reenacted ang Budget

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* effect of reenacted budget on COVID-19 response in 2021
* connection between DPWH lump sums and delay of budget bill in the House of Representatives

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The Only Way to Ensure the Timely Passage of the P4.5-Trillion 2021 Budget Bill

Between Oct. 12 and 14 when the Senate is originally scheduled to receive the transmittal of the General Appropriations Bill from the House of Representatives, and Nov. 17 when the Speaker said they will be able to transmit the same to us, is definitely not a one-day difference as claimed by Speaker Cayetano.

With that said, I have just suggested to the Speaker if it’s possible for him to resume their session, which is merely suspended and not adjourned, before All Saints’ Day just to approve on third and final reading the House version of the budget measure and thereafter transmit the same to us.

I also told him the senators, especially the finance committee vice chairpersons, need at least one week to study the House version and submit to the mother committee our reports. Another week will be needed for the finance committee to consolidate everything and file its committee report. In so doing, we can start floor debates immediately after we resume session on Nov. 16, or even before that.

That is the only way we can ensure the timely passage of the budget measure. We cannot afford an impasse involving the most important piece of legislation that Congress has to pass: the national budget, which I have consistently regarded as the lifeblood of our economy, if not our country.

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#PINGterview: Likely Delay in Passage of 2021 Budget; Sec. Duque’s WHO Post

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* likely delay in passage of 2021 budget
* Sec. Duque’s new post at the World Health Organization

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