Cayetano will not tolerate 'parked' funds in 2020 budget

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano promised to go hard against corruption in Congress, saying he will not tolerate any schemes to "park" funds in the proposed 2020 national budget.

"'Yung parking ng funds, the way I understand it, it's a form of corruption. And ang usapan sa Congress, we will fight corruption," said Cayetano after the House of Representatives officially received a copy of the P4.1-trillion budget from the Department of Budget and Management on Tuesday, August 20.

(The parking of funds, the way I understand it, it's a form of corruption. And we agreed in Congress that we will fight corruption.)

Cayetano said lawmakers have agreed to expose any anomalies they discover during the budget deliberations, even those that may be committed by House members themselves. 

"And ang usapan po sa 18th Congress, walang takipan. Meaning may mahuli na ganito ang ginawa o mayroong scam.... You know the President and the executive department, Ombudsman will be decisive, and the House will cooperate," said the Speaker.

(And in the 18th Congress, we discussed that we will not be covering for each other. Meaning, if we see there is a scam happening.... You know, the President and the executive department, Ombudsman will be decisive, and the House will cooperate.)

"Parking" funds is a term used when a lump sum, often without a specific purpose identified for its use, is listed under the budget of a particular congressional district. But the lawmaker of that district is informed by a fellow lawmaker that the allocation is merely listed or "parked," but will be used for a different project or district.

Accusations of alleged parking of funds, illegal budget insertions, and conflicts between Congress and the Cabinet not only delayed the passage of the 2019 budget, but also led to the government reenacting the 2018 budget in the 1st quarter of this year. 

President Rodrigo Duterte was able to approve the 2019 budget only in April, but he vetoed P95.3 billion worth of allocations under the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Acting Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado gave the assurance that every penny under the proposed 2020 budget is earmarked for a specific project.

"'Yung sinasabi naka-park, naka-park in the sense that na ginagamit sa kung saan. Hindi po. Dito sa budget na ito, identified po lahat diyan," said Avisado.

(When you talk about parking, it means you park the funds in one allocation but it will be used for something else. That won't happen here. In this budget, all allocations are identified.)

But he added it is Congress' responsibility to scrutinize the proposed budget in the next couple of weeks.

The House will begin budget deliberations on Thursday, August 22. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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