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‘Pork barrel’ revived?

Has the Duterte administration revived the “pork barrel” funds?

This question cropped up after the House Committee on Appropriations received P80 million in “soft” and “hard” project proposals from neophyte lawmakers.

A lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity said the 2017 funding allocation of each House member is R10 million higher compared to this year’s P70-million projects entitlement of House members under the previous Aquino administration.

The source said the breakdown of the P80-million entitlement is P30-million soft projects, which include hospitalization, scholarships, trainings, and livelihood; and P50-million hard projects or infrastructure projects.

“Despite the advertisement by congressional leaders in the past that pork barrel system has been abolished, we are asked to submit the list of projects for inclusion to the 2017 NEP (National Expenditures Program). Still we continue to enjoy some entitlement to funds,” the congressman said.

“Well, we really need these for our constituents for as long that projects are identified and not lump sum,” the source added.

The neophyte lawmakers were reportedly asked to submit their project proposals during the executive course on legislation of the first batch of 39 lawmakers last month. A two-page form was given to them to list and identify their projects. (Charissa M. Luci)