Opposition solon accuses executive, legislative branches of conniving to insert 'pork' in 2019 budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — The Makabayan bloc believes the executive and legislative branches of government connived to insert "pork barrel funds" in the proposed P3.575 billion national budget for 2019, according to ACT Teachers Party-list Representative Antonio Tinio.

Tinio on Thursday said the former leadership at the House of Representatives inserted pet projects of favored congressmen in the 2019 budget, which Malacañang approved and included in the National Expenditure Program.

"Buhay ang pork barrel system at nandyan yan, nananatili yan dahil sa sabwatan ng executive saka ng Congress. Pinapaboran dito ang mga kongresista at maging mga paborito ng Malacañang at yan ay nananatiling malaking source ng corruption," he said.

While the House has realigned the questionable P50 billion fund allegedly given to some favored congressmen, Tinio said the budget was distributed in different agencies in the form of lump sum.

He noted that P31 billion of the realigned amount was allotted to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fund road projects that have yet to be identified.

"Nandyan mga lumpsums supposedly ni-realign, pero nakita natin sa realignment na ginawa through the Committee of the Whole, malaking bahagi of P51 billion, P31 billion nananatiling lump sum pa rin sa DPWH, isang indication na mananatiling pork yan, paghahati-hatian parin yan pero sa ilalim ng bagong pamunuan," he said.

Tinio urged the House leadership to realign these funds to agencies that suffered major budget cut such as the Education, Health, and Housing departments.

"Hamon sa panibagong House leadership, wala na dapat lump sums, yang buong P55 billion ay dalhin directly sa mga service lalo na mga ahensya na nagkaroon ng malaking budget cut--education, health, housing at iba pa. Doon ilagay hindi sa road bridges, farm to market roads na alam natin mga classic pork barrel projects yan," he said.

The House leadership and the Budget Department have repeatedly denied that there is pork in the 2019 budget.

READ: Budget Secretary: No pork, insertions in 2019 budget