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Bayan Muna: Bigger funds for Metro Manila than Visayas, Mindanao under 2019 budget

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Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate on Sunday urged both houses of Congress to increase funding for poor regions and provinces, especially in Visayas and Mindanao.

“Pres. Rodrigo Duterte campaigned all over the country for federalism because he wants to ensure that funds are distributed to the provinces and the regions and not centralized in what he called ‘Imperial Manila.’ Yet, his 2018 National Expenditure Program showed the complete opposite,” Colmenares sad.

“Worse, he even decreased the regional allocation for Mindanao and Visayas in the 2019 budget even if the poverty incidence in them are higher,” he revealed.

Zarate said the budget submitted by Duterte to Congress even showed a decreased regional allocation for Visayas and Mindanao in his 2019 National Expenditure Program.

“A look at President Duterte’s National Expenditure Program shows that he decreased the regional allocation for Visayas from P412 billion in 2018 to P400 billion in 2019. Mindanao got the biggest cut in terms of amount, from P608 billion in 2018 to P585 billion,” he said.

“This is a complete turn around from his promise during the campaign period,” Zarate said.

He added: “Meanwhile the regional allocation of NCR increased from P817 billion to P834 billion. We are not saying that the budget for NCR be decreased, but that the budget for Visayas and Mindanao be increased.”

“The Congress can change all these by ensuring that the regions, particularly the poor ones, will have more share in the national budget. Congress has all the opportunity to do this during their Bicameral Conference this coming Monday,” Zarate said.

The bicameral conference committee hearing on the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 will continue on Monday.