Press Release
July 14, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the senators stand firm on their decision to scrap the P5 billion Kilos Asenso and P3.7 billion Kalayaan Barangay funds despite President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos hardened insistence that these should be fully restored under the proposed 2006 national budget.

Pimentel said the two lump sum appropriations are intended as additional pork barrel of the President to disburse to local government officials who are willing to follow her wishes blindly.

The Kilos Asenso and Kalayaan Barangay funds were created to enable the President to reward local officials who do her bidding, the minority leader said.

As such, the funds are destructive of the spirit and intent of the Local Government Code which intends to free them from being pawns of Malacañang and other powerful officials.

Pimentel said the senators could not compromise their position on this issue and they are not swayed by the Presidents all or nothing stance, meaning she would rather have the 2005 national budget reenacted into law if all the budget cuts made by the Senate are not restored.

Moreover, he said the Kilos Asenso and Kalayaan Barangay funds are not in the nature of internal revenue share of local government units. They are plain and simple patronage funds that are meant to boost the buying power of the President of local officials willing to be bought.

The funds are intended to convert local officials into minions and automatons of the President so that they would support her initiative to amend the Constitution to perpetuate herself in power and turn a blind eye to the plunder of the economy, oppression of the people and corruption that characterize her administration, he said.

Meanwhile, Pimentel said there is nothing new in the much-vaunted decision of President Arroyo to allow local chief executives to contract loans from international financing institutions, like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, to augment funds for their development needs.

Malacañang does not do the LGUs any favor by saying that it now allows them to borrow from foreign funding sources. The Local Government Code already allows them to do so unless security matters are involved. Otherwise, they may indeed transact loans from wherever that is possible.

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