Senator Panfilo Lacson says some of his colleagues are unhappy with his allegation that the P3.8-trillion national budget for 2019 is tainted “pork” through the insertions made by some senators and congressmen.
Lacson said he was fully aware that many of his colleagues in the Senate felt bad after his expose on the P23-billion insertions in Public Works’ budget alone. He said at least two senators had over P3 billion in allocations for their respective districts.
Lacson said he will stand his ground on his exposé, but he continues to refuse to reveal the identities of the senators who made insertions that could amount to pork barrel earlier declared “illegal” by the Supreme Court.
“I can’t do anything if they feel that way. What I know is that what I did was right,” Lacson said.
He was among the five senators who voted against the budget in the Senate.
But before the Senate voted on the budget last Friday, Lacson detailed in a privilege speech how the P75-billion “pork” was supposedly shared by congressmen and some senators.
“We are 24 republics in the Senate. That’s life. If we just allow everybody to do what they want so that they in turn will leave me alone, than what will happen to the budget? Then it will be more of the same.”
Meanwhile, JV Ejercito has described the P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget as a “pro-health” budget that would buttress the government’s health programs.
Ejercito, author and principal sponsor of the Universal Health Care measure, issued his description following the legislature’s ratification of the 2019 General Appropriations Act measure Friday night.
“I consider this budget as a ‘pro-health’ budget because it carries the funds for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, or HFEP, and Human Resource for Health Development [HRHD], both under the budget of the DOH [Department of Health],” he said in a statement.
Ejercito, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, had fought for the restoration of the more than P16-billion HFEP budget and the almost P8-billion HRHD allocation into the national budget after those had been slashed from the budget bill.
The HFEP and the HRHD are both programs that will ensure the wide delivery of quality, affordable and accessible health services to the Filipinos.
“I’m happy for our people because of the return of the HFEP and HRHD funds. The more than P16-billion HFEP budget will be used for the improvement, upgrade and expansion of government hospitals and health facilities, some are nearing completion already, and for their equipment.
“Another P7 billion for Human Resource for Health Development are for salaries and augmentation of health workers, nurses, midwives and doctors.”
Ejercito said the facilities would ensure the smooth implementation of the UHC measure, which included all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program and would bring down to an affordable level the people’s expenses on health services, including but not limited to check-ups and selected laboratory procedures.
The UHC is now for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature for it to become a law.