MANILA, Philippines – The Bicameral Conference Committee finally has approved the P4.1T proposed national budget for next year.
However, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed some last-minute ‘pork insertions’ in the proposed budget, the reason why he skipped the signing of the bicameral conference report on Wednesday night (December 12).
Lacson said he was sent a USB drive that contained the source files and the list files.
Based on their assessment, the source file contains 1,253 budget items amounting to more than P83-B.
Another file includes projects of congressmen amounting to P16-B that was inserted in the Bicam report.
The Lower House has yet to explain the two files.
It is, therefore, not clear if the total insertion was P83-B or P16-B.
Based on Lacson’s initial list, the provinces that obtained the largest allocations include Albay, Cavite, Sorsogon, Batangas, Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Cebu.
These were apart from the 117 flood control projects amounting to more than P3-B that was more suspicious.
Lacson expects President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the said questionable line items in the national budget.
Senator Vicente Sotto III said he will clarify with Senator Lacson the details of his discovery and to assess whether or not to elevate the issue to the President.
“Ang mangyayari sa atin ngayon niyan, in order not to delay the budget, we will just inform the Executive department. That’s the assessment of the Senate,” Sotto concluded. – MNP (with details from Nel Maribojoc)