FOR CORRUPT CONGRESSMEN, CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR.
by Napanice (no login)
IF YOU'RE ONE OF THE CORRUPT, YOU WILL BE CELEBRATING GLORIA'S BLESSINGS AND MORE.
1. CASH GIFT OF P500,000 AT MALACANANG PALACE.
2. RELEASE OF PORK BARREL FUNDS TO GLORIA LOYALISTS.
3. CHRISTMAS SHOPPING JUNKET IN EUROPE, ALL EXPENSE PAID.
4. CASH GIFT OF P200,000 FROM JDV FOR APPROVAL OF UNDER THE TABLE P17B BUDGET INSERTION. CASH GIFT WILL GUARANTEE OVERRIDE OF PRESIDENTIAL VETO.
JDV gifts 'Housemates' with P200,000 each
It was like getting a cash windfall for the weekly budget from "Pinoy Big Brother" himself.
Members of the House of Representatives, all 240 of them, got P200,000 each after Speaker Jose de Venecia authorized the release of the cash bonus to all congressmen, instead of a select few.
A dzMM report said after some congressmen got P100,000 in previous years, de Venecia decided to standardize the amount to P200,000.
A report in The Philippine Star, meanwhile, said that congressmen went home Wednesday night P200,000 richer and will now have money for their Christmas break starting Thursday. They return to work on January 21.
Officials were not able to clarify why they were given money. Some said it was for their Christmas bonus. Others said it was their budget for their staff and other expenses during the break.
According to the newspaper report, each House member gets about P250,000 a month for district office staff salaries, travel and other expenses. The amount also includes their basic salary of about P35,000.
Reached for comment, Deputy Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said he was not aware of the cash bonus.
"But I sincerely hope there are indeed funds to be distributed. You know, these are not normal times. It’s the Christmas season. Many of our constituents expect us to give them gifts," he said, adding that they expect to be heavily criticized for it.
Rep. Herminia Ramiro of Misamis Occidental, meanwhile, said the money is for the "15 to 20 employees, more or less, based in the congressional offices in Manila and the congressional districts, to approximate the P10,000 given as Christmas bonus to all national government personnel." Ramiro heads the House accounts committee.
She added that the money was meant for "yearend rentals, transportation and other costs."
"The funds are part of the official budget of the House," she added.
State workers get theirs too
Meanwhile, the Department of Budget Management said it has released funds for the P7,000 Christmas bonus of national government workers.
Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the P7,000 cash bonus for national government workers will come directly from the DBM. He said government agencies and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) can give an additional P3,000 to their workers depending on their savings.
"All employees of the national government, whether contractual, casual or permanent, will get a P7,000 bonus. The additional P3,000 will depend on the savings of their respective agencies," he told radio dzMM.
He said the Christmas bonus will not be given to workers of local government units since they are covered by the internal revenue allotments of LGUs.
Director General Avelino Razon Jr., Philippine National Police chief, said the nation's 120,000 policemen will not receive the additional P3,000 bonus due to lack of funds.
"Lahat po ng aming pondo ay nagagamit ng PNP… Naghahanap pa kami ng paraan para punuan iyong [P3,000] (The PNP usually drains up its funds… We’re still looking for ways to be able to release the additional P3,000)," Razon said.
Last week, President Arroyo announced a Christmas windfall for about two million state workers, giving them a P10,000 (US$241.5) bonus for 2007. The bonus is in recognition of government workers' contribution to the country's economic peformance this year, said a statement from the President's office.
Last year, state workers were given P5,000 each as a Christmas bonus.
The International Monetary Fund has raised its growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.7 percent, up from an earlier forecast of 6.3 percent due to its economic reform measures.
The government said the economy is on course for full-year growth of over 7 percent in 2007, the highest in over 30 years, after strong public and private consumption fuelled annual expansion of 7.1 percent in the first 9 months of the year. Last year, the economy grew only by 5.5 percent.
Posted on Dec 20, 2007, 10:24 AM from IP address 126.96.36.199