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Arroyo's district to get P1.9B worth of infra projects
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Arroyo's district to get P1.9B worth of infra projects, House official confirms

December 6 ------ Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's congressional district in Pampanga will get a total of P1.9 billion allocation for infrastructure projects under the proposed 2019 national budget. Acting House Appropriations panel chairperson and Compostela Valley Representative Maria Carmen Zamora made the confirmation on Wednesday as reports circulated that two lawmakers will get huge allocations for their districts.

Basing it from the House-approved version of the 2019 budget, which is being deliberated at the Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed that one lawmakers secured P2.42 billion worth of projects for her district while another lawmaker collared P1.9 billion worth of projects. The information alluded to Arroyo and Majority Leader Rolando Andaya.

In a news conference at the House, Zamora said that Arroyo's district, the second district of Pampanga, was originally allocated P1.4 billion for Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects.  The amount was increased to P1.9 billion during the House deliberations. Zamora did not give details of the projects, but said that the proposed amount was in consultation with the district engineers of DPWH. Andaya has yet to reply to reporters' queries on his district's purported funds.

“Hindi po nabuhusan ng proyekto [ang distrito ni Speaker Arroyo]. Wala pong gaanong kalaking increase. May allocation na po [ang districts under the proposed budget of the President], at hindi naman ganun kalaki ang increase compared with the third reading version of Congress,” Zamora said. “Based po sa NEP (National Expenditure Program) [as submitted by the President] , the district of the Speaker got P1.4 billion under DPWH. Based po sa recommendation [of the small committee of the House Appropriations panel], P500 million po ang nadagdag,” Zamora added.

Zamora also stressed that allocations for the House members’ respective constituents were based not only on the discretion of House members but also on recommendations by the DPWH. “You can’t say that it is congressional insertion because the realignments in the proposed budget were also recommended by district engineers of the DPWH,” Zamora said. Zamora, however, conceded that recommendations of the members of the House carry a great weight. “Of course, it is the job of the Congress members to make representations in the budgeting process because they know the situation of their constituents better,” Zamora added.

Arroyo is serving her third and last term as representative of Pampanga's second district, composed of six municipalities: Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao, Porac, Sasmuan and Sta. Rita. Her son, Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, has filed a certified of candidacy to run for the post to be vacated by his mother.  Mikey Arroyo was congressman of the district from 2004 to 2010 when Arroyo was President.  From 2010 to 2013, he continued being a member of the chamber as party-list representative. Arroyo was installed Speaker in June this year, replacing Pantaleon Alvarez.

In her first year as a House member in 2010, she also secured a P2.2 billion funding for her district's road projects from foreign loan obligations.