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House panel verifying P51-B allocation for Davao district of Paolo Duterte

The House committee on appropriations is verifying social media posts that Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte received P51 billion in district allocations in the previous Congress.

Panel chairperson Elizaldy Co told reporters in an online interview that there are documents circulating on social media that show that Davao City was allotted P13 billion in the first year of the 18th Congress, P35 billion in the succeeding year, and P13 billion in the third year.

“We are also checking on the veracity kasi during that time, maugong talaga na during that 18th Congress, medyo maugong yung kuwento na almost ganoon kalalaki ang releases,” Co said.

“Ang kuwentuhan talaga, who can question the holy land of Davao,” he added.

Co explained that on the average, districts are allocated P500 million to P2 billion per year.

Duterte, in a social media post last week, informed his constituents that “the House leadership has taken out P2 billion from your NEP budget for the district and left only a measly P500 million for Dabawenyos this year.”

In the same post, Duterte voiced his opposition to the current people’s initiative “as this is not the people’s voice but the voice of a few who wanted to perpetuate themselves in power.”

Co confirmed that allocations for Davao City were decreased in the present 19th Congress.

“Last year, gusto po ng DPWH, sabi nila, dapat diniet na ang Davao dahil sobra-sobra na ang na-release daw sa Davao. That’s why from P13 billion, bumaba po ng P4 billion. Then this year, naging P1 billion na lang po ang allocation ng district of Davao. Kailangan na rin po ng balancing on the other districts,” Co explained.

But Co said his committee’s verification of allocations for Davao City has nothing to do with Duterte’s stand against people’s initiative.

“Hindi po siya ano. In fact, last year pa po yan pinapakiusap ng Department of Public Works (and Highways) since over na ang na-release,” Co explained.

“Kung titingnan, dapat wala na pong bahang nangyari sa distrito ng Davao City. And we really want to know later on kung bakit sa P51 billion, meron pa ring baha sa Davao City,” he added.

When asked if this was connected to the reported rift between the Dutertes and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Co replied, “I don’t think so po. Ang nangyayari po niyan, we’re just doing the right thing."

GMA News Online sought the comment of Duterte and will post it once available. —LDF, GMA Integrated News