Create department to look into the budget needs of each district — Panelo
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo wants the creation of a department to look into the needs of each districts amid allegations of budget insertions and questionable allocations in the 2019 national budget.
“Itong gulo sa budget na ito. Kailangang matigil na ito e. Ang hindi ko maintindihan bakit nagkakaroon ng ganyan. Sa akin a, the only mechanism that I have thought about is e siguro mayroong isang departamento, siguro lumikha tayo ng bagong departamento para magtrabaho lang sa buong Pilipinas, titingnan ang kun ano ang pangangailangan ng bawat distrito. Sila ang magsasabi ito ang kailangan dito, ito ang kailangang lagyan ng budget,” Panelo said in an interview over dzMM on Wednesday.
“Kasi sa ngayon, iba-iba ang nagrerekomenda, parang ang dami. So the opportunity for graft and corruption ay marami rin. Maraming ngade-decide e,” he added.
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. earlier said that there was at least P51.8 billion insertions in the 2019 national budget and that Malacañang has favored a certain contractor who cornered 30 government projects worth billions of pesos.
Andaya also alleged that billions of pesos worth of flood control projects and other infrastructure projects had been earmarked for Catanduanes and Sorsogon without the knowledge of their respective district representatives.
During the “question hour” at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the controversial infrastructure budget in the 2019 national budget was P75 billion and not P51.8 billion.
Diokno, however, clarified that it should not be called “insertions” because “it’s part of the budget process.”
“We want infrastructure to be higher, we decided to augment, to add to the P480.2 billion (budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways) another P75 billion,” he said.
A reenacted budget for 2019 is looming as both Houses of Congress have yet to approve next year’s budget. /muf
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