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Lacson: ‘Transfer’ part of deleted P75B to North Luzon projects

Lacson thinks big chunk of P75-B ‘insertion’ went to House members

Senator Panfilo Lacson. INQUIRER FILE

Senator Panfilo Lacson wants part of the P75 billion that was deleted from the proposed 2019 public works budget to be realigned as he identified slope protection in Northern Luzon as a possible project for the fund.

In a statement, Lacson said part of the deleted funds could be used to reinforce slopes and roads in the Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT) area.

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Senators on Monday deleted P75 billion that were allegedly “inserted” into the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on suspicion that these were “pork barrel.”

READ: Senators delete P75B ‘insertions’ in DPWH budget

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“If my other colleagues will allow … we might give part of the P75 billion to the DPWH for slope protection work in Cordillera,” Lacson said in the statement.

Roads in the BLISTT become impassable when landslides occur, Lacson noted.

He pointed out that the DPWH must consult with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and other agencies to make sure that its computations would not be “bloated.”

“We will not allow bloated estimates similar to that in Nueva Ecija, where the DPWH spent P44,000 per square meter for slope protection when civil engineers calculate the cost to be just P28,000 per square meter,” he said.

Lacson earlier said senators would still discuss the “final resting place” for the deleted P75 billion.

READ: Lacson: ‘Final resting place’ for  P75B ‘insertion’ pending

In the statement, Lacson said the realignment of the amount to other items in the P3.7-trillion national budget for 2019 should not be a case of “pork to pork.”

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“We will look for programs that need funding. But for me, the bottom line is that the ‘transfer’ of the P75 billion should not be from pork to pork,” he said.

On Nov. 19, 2003, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional pork barrel, “which authorize/d legislators-whether individually or collectively organized into committees—to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution.” /cbb

READ: SC declares PDAF unconstitutional

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TAGS: 2019 budget, insertions, news, northern Luzon, Panfilo Lacson, ‎pork barrel, slope protection
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