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Philippines: Senate President Vicente Sotto III signs the PHP3.757-trillion General Appropriations Bill for 2019 before its transmitted to President Duterte for review and signing (26.03.2019)

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Philippines: Are there some porkies or not?

One of the leading causes of obesity is the misbelief that, when it comes to juice, ‘100%’ means ‘sugar-free.”Mokokoma Mokhonoana

In the Philippines, there been a long tradition of Pork Barrel or specific payout for government projects for Representatives in the Lower House, the House of Representatives and the senators in the Senate. Because this week has been hectic in touch with tradition. There are back and fourth. There is no end in sight for this rodeo. I will show pieces of it, because, I cannot make sense of it.

If there is, then there is, if its not, its not. However, after the recent week action in the headlines and following the wires. I got nothing. Because, even I am unsure. It is hard to know if there is Pork Barrel within the ratified Budget for 2019, which was ratified on Friday on the 8th February 2019.

Let me show some statements that isn’t coherent, reporting that is not backing each other. From various of sources. Since I feel this is important, because there is lack of consistent messaging, therefore, the truth might surface later. However this is what I have by today.

GMA Reported: “Senators took exception to allegations by House appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. that they will get P3 billion each in pork allocation in the 2019 budget. Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in a text message, said the accusation of P3 billion per senator as pork “is a slur against the Senate.”” (Amita Legaspi – ‘ No P3-B pork in 2019 budget, senators insist’ (08.02.2019) link: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/684334/no-p3-b-pork-in-2019-budget-senators-insist/story/).

CNN Philippines Reported: “He was referring to the funds that current House committee on appropriations chair Rolando Andaya said were illegal insertions made by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno — a charge Diokno has repeatedly denied. Lacson said that around P51 billion of the controversial P75 billion funds have been distributed to all members of the House of Representatives in P20 million chunks. “Of this amount, 20 billion pesos was distributed equally among the almost 300 congressmen, which translates into P60 million per congressman plus additional allocations to those close to the leadership of the House of Representatives. These are all embodied in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or the House version transmitted to the Senate,” Lacson said” (CNN Philippines Staff – ‘Lacson: New House leadership continued pork barrel mess’ 08.02.2019, link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/02/08/lacson-andaya-arroyo-pork-barrel-2019-budget.html).

Manilla Standard Reporting: “In total, the Senate proposed some P25.4 billion in adjustments while the House introduced P20.65 billion in realignments or a total of P46.35 billion under the DPWH where legislators can identify specific projects. Andaya confirmed that each congressman will get P160 million in itemized projects” (Maricel Cruz and Macon Ramos-Araneta – ‘Congress approves budget’ 09.02.2019, link: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/mobile/article/287358).

Sen. Franklin M. Drilon Press Release: “The minority leader also denied reports that senators will get P3 billion in pork allocation, including a province in the Visayas getting more than P3 billion. He called the allegation “grossly unfair”” (Franklin M. Drilon – ‘Drilon says no to 2019 national budget’ 08.02.2019, link:http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/0208_drilon1.asp).

Sen. Leila M. de Lima Press Release: “Kudos to my colleagues in the Minority bloc – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan – and, of course, to Sen. Ping Lacson, for their rejection of the pork-laden 2019 budget” (Sen. Leila M. de Lima – ‘Sen. Leila M. de Lima on her colleagues’ rejection of the pork-laden 2019 budget’ 09.02.2019, link: http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/0209_delima3.asp).

We are clearly seeing mixed messages, but both sides of this. Where the allocated funds are seen as differently. Therefore, we will see if these allocated funds are for the Pork Barrel or not. Since, the various explanation for these funds are really special. They are showing something and how to interpret the budget itself.

If one side is lying, than they are receiving funds and telling porkies. I am not sure, because if it is, they have tried to be sophisticated, but somewhere the funds leaked out. Someone spoke out and then the ones loyal to the President and the Government calling it “offensive”. Which makes it all weird. Since, why should people lie about special pay-outs, wouldn’t that be a happy-day to see your bank-account to be pregnant?

The Pork Barrels are there maybe or maybe not. By this report and these statements, it could be anything. Certainly porky porkies and even slices of pork chop from those Pork Barrels. Peace.

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