CONGRESSMEN and senators are deadlocked over the alleged “pork” barrel funds in the proposed P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017, a House leader disclosed on Monday.
PBA Party-List Rep. Mark Aeron Sambar, vice chair of the House committee on appropriations, said he had been in receipt of updates on the budget and the issue on the so-called “pork funds” had come out.
“There seems to be an impasse on a portion of the budget. [Senator Panfilo] Lacson is saying something, and it is coming out in th media,” Sambar told a news forum.
Pork barrel is a term which means the use of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes.
Sambar said the House version of the 2017 national budget was transparent and “pork-free.”
“We are not hiding anything here at the House of Representatives. There was no pork in any form,” Sambar said, referring to lawmakers’ discretionary funds.
Lacson had earlier described as”pork barrel-like” some P8.3 billion worth of funds from the House version of the 2017 budget.
“I am not sure where Sen. Ping got this. That is hard to identify by himself that it was pork barrel funds,” Sambar said.
But Sambas stressed: “We are willing to work together to appease him, we are not hiding anything here. …We are willing to work with the senators, we’re open to all options,” he added.
Both chambers of Congress are expected to ratify the 2017 national budget before they adjourn session on Dec. 16. President Duterte is expected to sign the budget bill next month.