Zarate on scrapped infra projects: ‘Pork barrel system is alive’
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate clarified that no budget for infrastructure projects was removed from his office because “I did not propose any project to any department in the first place.”
As a member of the seven-member Makabayan bloc, he was earlier reported to be among 24 House members who lost infrastructure funding as a consequence of not toeing the administration line.
Based on earlier news reports, the lawmakers who lost infrastructure funds for their districts or constituencies included members of the Magnificent 7, as well as some Liberal Party members allied with the majority coalition.
“Since my first term in Congress in 2013 and until now I did not partake of any pork barrel type congressional allocation in pursuance of our advocacy against patronage politics and the pork barrel system,” Zarate said in a statement.
But he added that the reports showed that the pork barrel system remained in place.
“These reports apparently indicate that the pork barrel system is still alive and the loopholes in the 2013 SC decision on PDAF are being used to make this porky habit still thrive in our political system. Only the style and name have changed but it is still the old patronage-driven pork barrel system,” Zarate said.
“The campaign to totally abolish the pork barrel system is still a big challenge. We will continue to oppose it, just like the other anti-people policies that burden our people,” he said.