HOUSE leaders have expressed gratitude to Senator Panfilo Lacson for confirming that the proposed 2020 national budget is pork-free.
But with regard to the alleged pork park amounting to P20 billion, as claimed by Lacson, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the House will continue to scrutinize it during the bicameral conference meeting to ensure that there is no corruption.
“We thanked Senator Lacson for his statement, it is true the 2020 national budget is pork free. We want to ensure the public that 2020 is a perfect budget like 20/20 perfect vision,” Cayetano said in an interview shortly after leading the House of Representatives in lightning a giant Christmas Tree to start the Christmas season in the Lower Chamber.
Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said that Senator Lacson has acknowledged the hard work of the House of Representatives in ensuring a pork-free national budget for next year.
Romualdez said Lacson’s proposal for the Senate to adopt the national budget that was approved by the House is a step in the right direction.
“This bolsters our position that what we approved and transmitted to the Senate is a constitutionally compliant General Appropriations Bill. Let me reiterate, the money measure that we passed under the leadership of Speaker Cayetano will marshal a budget for a meaningful change and a reflection not only of the President’s vision to make the life of Filipinos better, but also of the people’s will,” Romualdez said.
“The swift passage of the national budget that underwent scrutiny in the exercise of transparency, both by administration and opposition lawmakers, is a product of our commitment to help propel the country’s economic growth under the leadership of President Duterte,” he added.
For his part, Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, welcomed the proposal of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson for the Senate to simply adopt the House-approved version of the 2020 P4.1 trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
Barzaga said Lacson’s declaration that the money measure has no “pork” would validate the claim of the House leadership headed by Speaker Peter Cayetano, Romualdez and Davao City Rep.Isidro Ungab who heads the House Committee on Appropriations that the Lower Chamber is against a pork-laden national budget.
“As far as I know, this is the first time that Sen. Lacson recognized that the national budget transmitted by the House of Representatives to the Senate is pork-free, bereft of any illegal parking of funds and insertions. We have done our part and the ball is now in the hands of senators to consider the very good proposal of their colleague,” Barzaga, President of the National Unity Party (NUP), pointed out.
“I commend and thank my provincemate from Cavite, Sen. Ping, who has been consistent in his advocacy against pork-barrel funds, for his very fair and objective assessment of the national budget that the House of Representatives swiftly approved following thorough scrutiny and deliberations,” Barzaga said.