REGARDLESS of political party affiliation, all members of the House of Representatives should be given funds to finance their projects and programs in their respective districts.
House Speaker Gloria M. Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) has vowed to discontinue the practice of her predecessor of depriving opposition lawmakers of budget intended for their constituents.
Arroyo, a daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal of Pampanga and Dr. Eva Macaraeg of Pangasinan, instructed her officials to ensure that all districts will be given a budget for 2019.
Majority Floor Leader Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur, a member of the Cabinet when Arroyo was President, said “lahat ng distrito may pondo. Yan ang klarong utos ni Speaker GMA.”
Not only that. Andaya said that it was also the directive of Speaker Arroyo, an economist and a former university professor, to provide augmentation budget if funds are found to be lacking.
On the other hand, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the powerful House appropriations committee, vowed to make sure that the lady House speaker’s directive will be followed.
The big picture here, according to the House majority floor leader, is that constituents of opposition congressmen pay taxes so they are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their payments.
We share the view of Andaya that the Filipino people, including the poor, pay taxes in cash but rebated to them in kind, in the form of government services, projects and programs.
Likewise, we agree with the highly-articulate congressman from Camarines Sur that the people should not be penalized for the stand taken by their representatives on certain issues.
Certainly, participatory democracy flourishes when opposition members and other critics are allowed to air their grievances, views and opinions but without resorting to violence.