Sunday, January 21, 2018

Baguilat on losing infra funds: ‘My constituents are taxpayers too’

Dec 20, 2017 @ 18:16

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. protested on Wednesday the move of the House leadership to scrap the infrastructure funds of 24 lawmakers for not toeing the administration line.

“My constituents in Ifugao are taxpayers too. The allocations would have improved the national roads to the rice terraces and poor upland communities,” he lamented.

“We in the opposition are not in Congress to obstruct but rather our role is to raise a howl when wrong is being committed and give praise when it is warranted,” Baguilat said.

Baguilat who belongs to the Magnificent 7 bloc, is one of the 24 House members whose districts lost infrastructure funds in the budget for 2018.

Based on earlier news reports, the 24 House members who lost infrastructure funds for their districts or constituencies included members of the Magnificent 7 and Makabayan, as well as some Liberal Party members allied with the majority coalition.

“The unilateral removal of projects already approved by Congress on third reading is an assault on democracy which rests on critical checks and balances,” Baguilat said.

“Exacting revenge on the genuine opposition solons by removing projects dedicated not to them but to their citizens shows their desire for autocracy, for dangerous dictatorship. The healthy exchange of opposing views is crucial in a democracy. It should not be quelled by going after elected representatives and their constituents whom the president, and this administration must serve, regardless of their political persuasion,” he said.

Baguilat insisted that the budget should not be seen as a political tool, as Budget Secretary Ben Diokno said.

“The budget should be looked at objectively to make sure that taxpayer money goes where it is needed the most, and not used as a reward for those who will blindly follow the administration’s wishes, whether right or wrong,” he said.

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