Mayor says ex-Cabinet exec ‘parked’ P300 M in infra projects — Andaya
MANILA, Philippines — A mayor from the Bicol region claimed that a former Cabinet official, seeking an elective seat in the upcoming 2019 elections, “parked” at least P300 million in infrastructure projects in the proposed 2019 national budget.
Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. revealed this on Sunday after the said mayor approached him to disclose the said allocation.
“A mayor from Region 5 approached me over the weekend and intimated that a former Cabinet official now seeking an elective seat was responsible for ‘parking’ at least P300 million in infrastructure projects in the proposed 2019 national budget,” Andaya said in a statement.
“The mayor, who requested not to be named in the meantime, disclosed that the Cabinet member parked the allocation in flood-mitigation projects for the region. Anytime ire-release na raw ang pondo. Nag site visitation na,” he added.
Andaya’s statement came after Senator Panfilo Lacson exposed a new kickback scheme by lawmakers through “parked pork.”
“Big amounts of pork are parked in a legislative district of a well-connected congressman,” Lacson said.
“Then he/she offers to share portions of that parked pork to other congressmen with very little or no pork allocations with the understanding that the choice of contractor remains with the former,” he added.
Andaya said that according to the mayor, more local government executives want “to shed light on the so-called ‘parking scam’ in the budget allocations in the region.”
“Lumapit sa akin ang mayor dahil ngayon lang daw nila naiintindihan ang mga nangyayari. Pumayag sila sa parking scheme dahil para rin naman daw sa benepisyo ng mga constituents ang mga proyekto,” he said.
“Nililinaw lang nila na hindi daw sila kumita sa mga proyektong ito,” he added.
Moreover, Andaya said that the supposed “parking scheme” may “eventually explain the huge spike allocated to flood mitigation projects from 2017 to 2018.”
Andaya noted that the budget for flood mitigation projects increased to up to P133 billion compared to the P79 billion worth of funds in 2017.
“Ibig sabihin, P54 billion ang nadagdag sa mga pondong ito,” he said.
Andaya also cited a report which showed that in the Bicol region alone, around P2 billion had been added to fund flood-related national projects from 2017 to 2018.
“Out of the proposed P544.5-billion budget of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) for 2019, P114.4 billion is for flood control projects. Almost 24 percent,” Andaya said.
However, the lawmaker pointed out that majority of the flood control projects were not included in the original proposed budget of the DPWH which was at P488 billion.
“Idinagdag ito sa level ng DBM na. Kaya lumalabas na P544 billion ang proposed budget ng DPWH for 2019. And this augmentation was admitted during the Question Hour,” he said.
“Ang idinagdag ba, para sa flagship Build, Build, Build projects? Hindi. Mukhang marami sa flood control, na hindi alam ng DPWH central office. Clueless sila,” he added.
Andaya also questioned the allocation of funds with regards to flood-related projects.
“Ang bulto ba ng pondo ay para doon sa flood prone areas ng Metro Manila at Metro Cebu? Hindi. Ikinalat sa maliliit na bayan,” he said.
“How many of these projects are backed up officially by DPWH? Ilan ang recommended as priority projects ng RDCs (Regional Development Council)? At ilan ang recommended by ‘engineers’ outside the DPWH?” he further asked.
Andaya, meanwhile, mentioned that the recent allegations on the former Cabinet official is set to be investigated by the House rules committee on January 3, together with its investigation on the alleged anomalous allocations in the national budget. /je
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