On Zero Budget Issue (Statement of Partido Liberal President Senator Kiko Pangilinan and Party Secretary General Rep. Kit Belmonte)

For 2018, Congress passed a P3.767-trillion budget. In a democracy, that budget is of, for, and by the people.

Galing sa tao, para sa tao, at pinamamahalaan para sa tao. Ibig sabihin galing sa buwis ng tao, para sa mga proyektong pakikinabangan ng tao, at itatalaga ng mga kinatawan ng tao, ng mga congressman.

That’s why however the House leadership justifies the purging of infrastructure projects of some lawmakers, this clearly will take its toll on the people.

The defunded projects could be for housing or school buildings or flood control or access roads — projects that people of the concerned congressional districts would no longer enjoy because of disagreements among those in power. Projects paid for by people’s taxes and ensured by their votes.

This defunding is an undisguised show of power with a clear message: Gagawin namin dahil kaya namin. Bawal kumontra, tatamaan kahit na sino.

But democracy demands dissent. Democracy ensures space for the opposition.

We were elected by our constituents because of our track record and competence, advocacy and the principles we stand for.

If this is the price we have to pay for standing up for democracy, then we are prepared to take the consequences. It goes with the job. We will continue to fight for the rights and interest of the people.