Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao lashed on the Duterte administration for its wasteful funding for the hosting of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nation Leader’s Summit on November 10 to 14. The government announced that it is utilizing a P15.5-billion budget for the event.
“It is immoral for President Duterte to allot a wasteful budget for this meeting for foreign visitors, when millions of Filipinos are leaving in misery and poverty,” Casilao said in a statement.
Poor Filipinos are estimated to reach 22 million as the government reported a 21.6% poverty incidence in 2015 on a population of more than 100 million. Sectors among with highest poverty incidence were farmers, fishermen and children.
Of the budget, Casilao particularized the P7.6-billion budget for “representation and entertainment” expenses; the P1.5-billion for the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and P2-billion for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Amid more serious concerns in the country such as giving rehabilitating typhoon-hit areas, relief for poor sectors, funding agrarian reform, addressing homelessness and others, President Duterte had the gall to engage in this insulting extravagance,” the lawmaker said.
He cited that typhoon Yolanda victims in Eastern Visayas has yet to fully recover, even after four years, as they were also hit by succeeding typhoons such as Glenda, Ruby and Seniang in 2014 and 2015, that damaged P21.5-billion worth of value in the agricultural sector.
The activist lawmaker called that this is worse than under “delawan” or when the Aquino administration wasted P10 billion for the hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2015. ###.