Andaya: Flooded Matnog town has zero budget for flood control in 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Despite its vulnerability to flooding, Matnog, Sorsogon got zero allocation for flood control projects under the 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP), Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. bared Sunday.
At least 19 villages in Matnog, Sorsogon are now submerged in flood water due to the rains triggered by Tropical Depression “Usman,” Andaya said.
The NEP, which contains the breakdown of proposed allocations in government, was prepared by the executive branch, specifically the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Andaya has been accusing DBM Chief Benjamin Diokno of orchestrating the “insertion” of some P75 billion infrastructure fund in the proposed 2019 national budget without the knowledge of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Public Works and Highways, as well those congressmen whose district would benefit.
But Diokno said the P75 billion should not be called “insertions” as these were “adjustments” which were part of the budget process.
In a statement, Andaya said a huge slice of the budget allocated by the DBM for Sorsogon flood control projects in 2019 — a total of P325 million — would go to Casiguran town where an in-law of Diokno is seeking re-election as mayor.
“Isang bayan lang, hindi pa binabaha may (One town that does not experience flooding has), may allocation na 0.3 percent ng P114.4-billion total national budget allocated by DBM for flood control projects next year. Wow!” the Camarines Sur 1st District congressman said.
“Malinaw na may problema ang DBM sa budget allocation nila (It’s clear that the DBM has problem with the budget allocation). For 2019, zero budget for flood control in Matnog. But a whopping P325 million allocated for Casiguran, which has no threat of flooding now or in the next 25 years,” he added.
This, he said, would be among the issues that the House rules committee would discuss during the public hearing in Naga City on January 3.
Andaya started his exposès after Sen. Panfilo Lacson alleged that Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got P2.4 billion in “pork barrel” funds while he got P1.9 billion. Both denied Lacson’s allegations. /ee