MANILA - There is no pork nor "parked" funds in the 2020 national budget, a lawmaker said Wednesday, following Sen. Panfilo Lacson's claim that P20 billion worth of funds have no specific allocations in next year's spending plan.
"We remain firm on our stand. The document speaks for itself, there’s no pork, there's no parking," Camarines Sur Rep. L-Ray Villafuerte, House deputy speaker for finance, told ANC's Headstart.
"Everything is line item in the budget."
Villafuerte again called on Lacson to identify the questionable projects worth P20 billion. Of this figure, he explained that P4 billion was allocated to local government units (LGUs) for environmental, water, infrastructure and calamity-related projects.
"It specifically says there it’s for LGUs. When you disburse that, there are guidelines, it’s a 30-page document on how to disburse that fund," he said.
"It has very strict guidelines. I’m sure it passed through scrutiny under the Commission on Audit din (also)."
Villafuerte said this was allowed, citing as an example the budget for disaster risk reduction management.
"He did not question it, why? Because you don’t know when and where the calamity will strike you," he said. "There are money lump sums but for a specific purpose."
Villafuerte said he could not find the P10 billion "parked fund" under the Department of Public Works and Highways that Lacson earlier claimed.
He, meantime, said the P500 million fund allotted for the repair of Kennon Road in Baguio was a typographical error and was supposed to be only P15 million.
The lawmaker said he expects a bicameral conference committee by the first week of December and that he was "99.9 percent sure" next year's budget will be passed not later than December 15.
He, however, rejected Lacson's proposal to make budget deliberations public.
"It will become a circus, you will just grandstand," he said.