Lawmaker decries reduced number of flood-control, drainage system projects
Updated (6:32 p.m.)
The number of proposed flood-control and drainage system projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was significantly stripped down following the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) proposed shift to a cash-based budgeting system.
House appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Nograles revealed this on Monday, saying that the number of flood-mitigation structures and drainage systems of the DPWH decreased by 125.
“Sa DPWH number of constructed flood-mitigation structures and drainage systems, for 2018 the target was 1,936. The target for 2019 is now [down] to 1,811,” he told reporters in an interview.
“So naapektuhan siya by 125 flood-mitigation structures and drainage systems,” he added.
He also said that the DPWH’s proposed budget for its flood management program in 2019 decreased by P20.8 billion. The 2019 budget was only P101.9 billion, down from P122.7 billion in 2018.
The Davao lawmaker also warned that this would affect the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, especially as these programs were meant to address the perennial flooding in the country.
“Malaking bagay. Climate change, pagbaha, itong mga pag-uulan. Hindi mo masosolve yan by stopping the implementation of flood control (projects) or bawasan mo ang mga flood control projects. Hindi po yan ang paraan at tamang solusyon. In fact ang hinihingi namin ay dagdag pa nga eh, damihan yung mga flood-control. Hindi yung bawasan,” he said.
(With climate change and heavy rains, these flood-control projects would help a lot. We cannot solve these problems by stopping or reducing the number of projects. It’s the right solution. In fact we are looking to do more flood-control projects)
Nograles said the DBM should at least retain the same number of projects in 2018.
“Kung bawasan mo mga flood control, eh di ang hirap naman. Nakakabahala. Hindi naman yan yung gusto naming mensahe para sa taumbayan. May problema tayo sa pagbabaha, ang solusyon is ayusin yung flood control systems damihan natin,” he said.
(If the number of flood-control projects will be reduced, that is alarming. That’s not the message we want to give to the public. We have problems with flooding. The solution is to introduce more projects to improve our flood control and drainage systems.)
“At the very least, kung ano yung 2018 level, dapat pantay sa 2019 level targets. Hindi yung bawasan mo,” he added.
Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, a former chair of the House appropriations panel who was also a Budget undersecretary, has explained that in cash-based budgeting, only projects and programs which are implementable for completion and payment within the fiscal year and during the three-month extension period after the yearend are included for funding in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Meanwhile, under the obligation-based budgeting, the implementation, completion, and payment of the projects and programs in the GAA could be made beyond the yearend provided they are obligated within the fiscal year by contract or other modes of incurring an obligation, Lagman added.
House members have been opposing the DBM’s cash-based budgeting, citing many of the department budgets for 2019 have been slashed. /ee
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