MANILA – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to examine the final version of the 2019 national budget and veto items that “look and smell” like pork barrel.
Alleged irregularities have stalled deliberations on the P3.7-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2019 and the country has been operating on a reenacted budget.
Lacson said some P160 million in allocations per congressman were retained during a "small group" bicameral conference committee meeting late Wednesday.
"Hopefully, the President and his economic managers will further scrutinize the final version of the budget bill as passed by Congress and exercise his veto power to excise the line items that clearly look and smell like pork," Lacson said.
"Some headway" was made as as additional allowances for teachers and some amendments to the budget of the Department of Health were retained, including the 240-day a year school feeding program, he said.
The 2019 budget will be ready for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature next week, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. said Tuesday.
-- with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News