No infrastructure funds for 24 opposition congressmen in 2018 budget

No infrastructure funds for 24 opposition congressmen in 2018 budget

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Twenty-four congressmen critical of the administration were denied funds for their districts’ infrastructure in the P3.77-billion national budget for 2018, an opposition lawmaker said Wednesday.

Representative Edcel Lagman of Albay said he and members of the so-called opposition group “Magnificent 7” which include him and representatives Egay Erice, Teddy Baguilat, Gary Alejano, Tom Villarin, Raul Daza, and Emmanuel Billiones were given zero budget for infrastructure funds under the recently signed 2018 General Appropriations Act.

“Vengeance plus caprice equal zero allocations for authentic opposition Representatives and other targeted legislators in the House of Representatives,” he said in a statement.

He did not mention the other 17 congressmen who were denied their infrastructure budgets.

The 24 solons’ “steadfast critical dissent and perceived ‘waywardness'” cost them their constituents’ budget and deprived them of progress, Lagman said.

“Zero allocations are projected to punish and silence opposition legislators even as it is their constituencies who are deprived of the benefits of infrastructure development,” he said.

Akbayan Party-list Representative Tom Villarin condemned President Rodrigo Duterte for taking his revenge on the opposition by withholding crucial projects for the public.

In an interview with CNN Philippines Wednesday, Villarin said the budget cuts were “unprecedented” and “highly quesationable” as they were made at the last minute – before the President signed the 2018 budget.

“It speaks much about the dictatorial tendencies of this administration,” Villarin said.

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