Andaya says P52B realigned funds to be itemized
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. on Wednesday denied that the almost P52-billion worth of funds realigned from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to other state projects were lump sum funds.
In a statement, Andaya said they would itemize the approved amendments to House Bill No. 8169 or the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act on Tuesday.
“The approved amendments in the budget will be itemized. There will be no post-enactment identification which is prohibited. Spelled out dapat,” he said.
Andaya, in a separate text message to INQUIRER.net, said such itemization could be done when the period of amendments commences.
“Based on experience the whole process of itemization will go thru both houses of Congress. As early as now, the senators have already stated their stand on the matter. Bicam will be the final venue. The House is merely laying the groundwork for that eventuality,” he noted.
Andaya, however, explained that even if realigned funds would be enumerated or detailed, some entries might be hard to itemize. He cited as an example the budget for retained health workers, “as it will be impossible to create what is basically a payroll.”
“In the case of the Calamity Fund augmentation for Ompong rehabilitation, there is no comprehensive damage assessment yet which can guide as to what projects will be undertaken,” the lawmaker pointed out.
“As I said every line in the GAB (General Appropriations Bill) will comply with laws and judicial decisions on public expenditures,” he assured.
Before the House committee of the whole adopted such realignment on Tuesday, ACT-Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio tagged as “lump sum funds with no details” the reallocations of over P31 billion from the DPWH under construction projects on tourism destinations, road access to economic zones, and construction of roads and bridges.
“And so based on previous experiences with the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) and the corruption related to approval of such lump sums, I am concerned that at this point no details are being provided…. What are these projects? Where will they be implemented and so on Mr. Chair?” Tinio said.
Andaya said such details would be filled during the period of amendments.
The Makabayan bloc also slammed the almost P52 billion worth of funds as pork barrel and lump sum.
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