MANILA – Dismissing earlier claims against the 2015 budget, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Tuesday said that the country’s budget for next year is free from pork barrel.
This is despite allegations of senators including Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago that the budget included a P37.3 billion in lump-sum appropriations.
The budget is, instead, an exercise of the lawmakers’ power of the purse, according to Sen. Francis Escudero.
The senator also denied claims that the 2015 budget signals the return of the controversial pork barrel funds of the lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Abad also defended the definition of ‘savings’ in the budget which was also criticized by Santiago on earlier reports.
“Our position is as much as possible, there should be no savings,” Abad told the Inquirer.
“But the reality is that events happen [such as] calamities, lawsuits, nonfilling up of positions, new technologies, etc., that help us generate savings, make us terminate or discontinue projects or induce efficiency,” he said.
“But with all the reforms being introduced, savings, if at all generated, will be a small portion of the budget,” he added.