By Ben Rosario
The P1.9 billion that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) sought for the congressional district of former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is overshadowed by the allocations for the congressional districts of 99 other congressmen.
House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. disclosed this Friday, revealing that over 100 congressmen and senators will get over P1 billion in additional budgetary allocations to finance public works projects suggested by the lawmakers.
Andaya even revealed a whopping P8-billion budgetary insertion for one congressional district, which he did not identify.
The Camarines Sur solon volunteered these pieces of information in response to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s relentless criticism of the alleged pork barrel allocation that Arroyo allegedly got for the second congressional district of Pampanga.
“Just to clarify ang allocation ngatingSpeaker, she’s actually ranked about 100. Around 99 congressmen na mas malaki po ang allocation sa kanilang distrito,” the former budget secretary said.
Like what he did, Andaya said that it would be fair for the Senate to likewise reveal details of additional funding for infrastructure projects proposed by senators.
“Maybe,sila din magpaliwanag sa amin kung papano nailagay doon. Kasimarunong din kaming tumingin sa budget(Maybe,they should also explain how they made the insertion. We also know how to analyze the budget),” he stated.
Also at the receiving of Lacson’s criticism, Andaya explained that his congressional district in Camarines Sur is “ranked 186th in the budget insertion, adding that the allocation is lowest if compared to the amount congressmen in his province will get.” Included among them is the congressional district of Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymond Villafuerte, who had previously been identified as among the House members who were set to benefit from the P52 billion “parked pork barrel fund” that was later re-aligned.
Lacson had earlier dared Arroyo and Andaya that since the allocations are the “fruit of misplaced generosity” they should return the budgetary allotment for their respective congressional districts.
Andaya responded by saying that it’s the DPWH that has asked the amount be earmarked for projects in their district. He said the budget was approved by the plenary in session, thus, the issue will now be directed to House as an institution.
“Likewise, we also have to deal with the Senate through their chairman, Senator (Loren) Legarda, so it will be up to the bicam (panel) to discuss what will happen,” he said.
Asked if they have a reason to believe that Arroyo is being singled out by Lacson, Andaya said what the senator has been doing can be easily understood.
“I think it’s natural for this to happen considering that the Speaker and I represent the leadership of the Lower House,” he stated.
But Andaya said Lacson’s criticisms have reflected wrong impression of the House’s approval of the P3.757-trillion national budget.