Tag: Anti-Pork

On the Early Fighting over ‘Pork’ in the 2021 Budget

This early, we are already seeing the ugly effects of “pork.”

More than the possible delay in the passage of the 2021 national budget, any ugly squabble in plenary over the distribution of earmarks a.k.a. “pork” is exactly that – ugly.

When statesmanship goes out the window, our people’s respect towards the legislature as an institution as well as its individual members somehow dissipates.

Any way we look at it, it is sad and lamentable, to say the least.

Having said that, the total amount representing P135 billion covering 5,913 reappropriated items and P396 billion in lump sum appropriations lodged in the central office of the DPWH may need further clarification.

It is basic that once an infra project has started its implementation, it is already obligated. Hence, there can be no partial cash allocation, unless that project is discontinued, cancelled, or terminated. Then, the unused portion of the appropriation becomes savings that may be realigned. Or, if the project is covered by Multi Year Contractual Authority (MYCA), formerly known as MYOA or Multi Year Obligational Authority which is clearly spelled out and provided in the 2020 GAA, the same item can reappear in the succeeding budget year.

We were not born yesterday as far as budgeting is concerned.

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A Whopping Half-Trillion Pesos and Counting: On Questionable Appropriations in the Proposed 2021 Budget

In our continuing efforts to scrutinize the 2021 National Expenditure Program, particularly on the issue of “re-appropriations” and “lump sum appropriations” involving infrastructure projects under the DPWH, we have found that the initial amount of P73.5 billion covering 2,933 items has now ballooned to P135.8 billion involving 5,913 projects – thus effectively increasing the total questionable appropriations to P532.3 billion from the initial P469 billion that we exposed earlier, including lump sums in the amount of P396.4 billion.

Considering the projects under “Operations” in the proposed budget of the DPWH has total appropriations of P613.1 billion, easily 87 percent or P532.3 billion is deemed questionable.

Having said all that, a legal question needs to be addressed as we progress in our plenary budget deliberations: Will this kind of “errata” be allowed by the Senate, or Congress for that matter, if the items to be rectified do not involve simple typographical errors or other similar minor errors like interchanged or misplaced items in the NEP?

Therefore, if my colleagues will not allow such major rectification, we may see a 2021 GAA that is reduced by more than half a trillion pesos.

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#PINGterview: ‘Haggling’ in DPWH’s Budget for 2021?

In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* items in the proposed budget for 2021
* PhilHealth anomalies
* appointment of Cezar Mancao II to DICT

QUOTES and NOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: ‘Haggling’ in DPWH’s Budget for 2021?”

#PINGterview: PhilHealth Committee Report, 2021 Budget, ‘Designated Survivor’ Legislation

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* PhilHealth committee report
* questionable items in the 2021 budget
* ‘Designated Survivor’ legislation

QUOTES and NOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: PhilHealth Committee Report, 2021 Budget, ‘Designated Survivor’ Legislation”

“Stealth? Not Me!”: Rectifying Raissa Robles’ Allegations Against the Anti-Terrorism Law

A blog post by Raissa Robles insinuating that I stealthily inserted Section 25 into Republic Act 11479 – the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 – is malicious and untrue, to say the least.

I abhor violations of the legislative process, and have called out members of Congress for such acts – such as when they inserted their pork barrel in the National Budget bill after its approval on third and final reading or ratification of the bicameral conference committee report, and before the bill was enrolled.

Why, then, would I make such a stealthy insertion to the Anti-Terrorism Bill as Robles implies?

Continue reading ““Stealth? Not Me!”: Rectifying Raissa Robles’ Allegations Against the Anti-Terrorism Law”

#PINGterview: ECQ Extension, Supplemental Budget vs COVID-19 Needed?

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible supplemental budget to deal with COVID-19 [0:26]
* at least P989B unused from 2019 budget [2:40]
* local officials naipit sa Social Amelioration Program [17:39]
* DBM circular barring release of 35% of 2020 budget’s appropriations [19:45]
* lockdown until June? [24:17]

NOTES and QUOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: ECQ Extension, Supplemental Budget vs COVID-19 Needed?”

At the Confirmation Hearing of DBM Sec. Wendel Avisado

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At the Commission on Appointments, Sen. Lacson supported the confirmation of Wendel Avisado as Department of Budget and Management Secretary.

Sen. Lacson urged Sec. Avisado to continue budget reforms at the DBM. “(President Duterte) cannot do it without your input and wise counsel. Please continue what you started,” he said.

Earlier, Sen. Lacson thanked Avisado for requiring agencies to obtain certifications from Regional Development Councils before including their projects in the national budget. “This is a step in the right direction that we must follow,” he said.

He also lauded the DBM for withholding at least P80B in congressional realignments at the expense of the “Build, Build, Build” flagship program.

Hatchet Job: Ping, ‘Ibinida’ sa Road Project sa Tarlac

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Image Courtesy: City Planning and Devt Office, Tarlac City Facebook page

Nagkaroon ng “hatchet job” laban kay Senador Panfilo Lacson matapos niyang isiwalat ang pagkakaharang ng Malacañang sa tinatayang P80 bilyong realignment sa 2020 national budget.

Nakarating sa senador ang paglutang ng pekeng impormasyon na ini-sponsor niya ang isang proyektong kalsada sa Tarlac City sa kabila ng patakaran nito na huwag magpatupad ng proyekto gamit ang pork barrel.

“First, I don’t realign appropriations for road projects, much less local roads since it smacks of a pork barrel allocation. Also, the realignments I propose in the national budget are institutional – meaning, they have undergone planning and vetting, and are based on requests from the implementing agencies concerned,” mariing paliwanag ni Lacson.

Ang nabanggit na pahayag ay ginawa ni Lacson bilang pagpapasinungaling sa lumabas na impormasyon na siya ang nag-sponsor sa P25-milyong road concreting project sa Barangay San Rafael, Tarlac City.

Related: Hatchet Job? Lacson Scores ‘Disinformation’ on Tarlac Road Project
Continue reading “Hatchet Job: Ping, ‘Ibinida’ sa Road Project sa Tarlac”

Hatchet Job? Lacson Scores ‘Disinformation’ on Tarlac Road Project

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Image Courtesy: City Planning and Devt Office, Tarlac City Facebook page

Is it a smear job meant to discredit Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson and his anti-pork advocacy?

Lacson was tagged as the “sponsor” of a local item in the P4.1-trillion budget for 2020: a P25-million road concreting project in Barangay San Rafael in Tarlac City.

“First, I don’t realign appropriations for road projects, much less local roads since it smacks of a pork barrel allocation. Also, the realignments I propose in the national budget are institutional – meaning, they have undergone planning and vetting, and are based on requests from the implementing agencies concerned,” Lacson said.

He noted the disinformation appeared to come after Malacañang and the Department of Budget and Management withheld at least P80 billion in congressional realignments made by some lawmakers, at the expense of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” flagship program.

Related: Hatchet Job: Ping, ‘Ibinida’ sa Road Project sa Tarlac
Continue reading “Hatchet Job? Lacson Scores ‘Disinformation’ on Tarlac Road Project”

On the Withholding of At Least P80B in Congressional Realignments

SPML-hearing

Unmitigated gall. This best describes some lawmakers who realigned at least P80 billion from the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” flagship program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the 2020 national budget.

Thus, I support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management to withhold the release of these congressional realignments.

This is one reason why I continue to support the leadership of President Duterte in spite of some disagreements with him over some policy issues: He has time and again displayed the strong political will, even against many self-proclaimed allies in Congress whose loyalty clearly lies where the money lies.

Such “allies” have the propensity to praise him to high heavens and never criticize him, but with self-aggrandizement and greed as their only motivation and nothing else. The President should always be wary of these so-called allies.

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