According Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, the coming year may be a happy one only for those who continue to benefit from the pork barrel system – and a burdensome one for the rest of the Filipinos.
Lacson said every Filipino, even those born just now, is already saddled with a whopping P71,000 debt, no thanks largely to the corrupt pork barrel system.
“2019: Year of the Earth Pig. Brace yourselves for more pork,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account.
“I do not know if it is a coincidence that next year is the Year of the Earth Pig,” he added in a radio interview on Monday.
Lacson said the practice of lawmakers to make insertions in the budget for pet projects – without consulting the agencies concerned – has resulted in projects being implemented inefficiently, if at all.
“All Filipinos, even those born just now, are already saddled with a debt of P71,000 each, because our borrowings have ballooned. Worse, we have to borrow more just to pay off our past debts,” he said.
“It would have been better if the borrowings resulted in development projects whose benefits we can actually feel. But if taxpayers’ money is lost due to corruption and inefficiency, that is sad,” he added.
As it is, he said the government is forced to impose added taxes to generate the needed additional revenue to pay off the debts, he noted.
Lacson noted that only three to four years ago, each of 90 million Filipinos owes “only” about P60,000.
Had development projects been properly implemented, each of the 100 million-plus Filipinos today would have a much lighter debt.
“Aren’t you angry that because some people played around with the budget, all of us Filipinos are made to bear the burden of debt?” he said.
To illustrate his point, Lacson cited findings of the Commission on Audit for 2017, where some P583 billion in funds for implementing projects was tagged as questionable.
“Why did COA tag such an amount as questionable? There was no consultation between the executive and legislative in implementing projects,” Lacson said.