MANILA, Aug. 8 — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the House of Representatives (HOR) to prove that the proposed PHP3.767-trillion 2018 national budget is free from pork barrel allocations.
Lacson made this call noting that for him, it was hard to believe that the proposed budget is free from pork for several reasons.
He asked the DBM and the House to explain the big lump sums in several agencies like Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agriculture (DA) among others.
The senator said that he also wanted to know why legislators in both houses of Congress are being asked to submit lists of their projects just before the period of amendments of the appropriations bill or even before that.
Another issue he had with the proposed budget was that there were billboards in some jurisdictions/districts where some congressmen boldly claim that the ongoing projects are theirs.
Finally, he wanted the DBM and House to explain the PHP8.3 billion that the Senate discovered and realigned to fund the free tuition of students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the 2017 General Appropriations Act.
Last year, the Senate removed some PHP8.3 billion in pork barrel allocations from the DPWH to fund the free tuition in SUCs this year.
Lacson, meanwhile, urged the DBM and House to “be honest” to the people and to themselves.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, however, maintained that there are no pork barrel allocations in the proposed 2018 budget.