‘Not true’: Pangilinan refutes Panelo’s remark on Aquino admin infra projects
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday belied Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s remark that “not a single infrastructure was made” during the previous administration.
“Well maliwanag, hindi ‘yon totoo, kaya nakakalungkot na ang spokesperson ay nagsasabi ng hindi totoo,” Pangilinan told reporters at the Senate when sought for his comment on Panelo’s statement.
(Well it’s clear that it’s not true, so it’s sad that the spokesperson is saying something that is false.)
The Palace official had earlier dismissed as “baseless” the remark of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon where he called the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program a “dismal failure.”
Panelo also hit back at Drilon, saying the opposition senator should “look at the administration you previously belonged.”
“Six years, not a single infrastructure was made,” Panelo said.
Drilon, in a separate media interview, justified his earlier statement saying that “the issue is the underspending.”
“The fact that only nine projects have been started is just a manifestation of this underlying problem,” he said.
“Twenty percent of our GDP (gross domestic product) is dependent on government spending. Therefore, it is important that the budgeted expenditures should be disbursed, because that goes into our GDP, creates employment,” he added.
Drilon said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) itself “recognized that underspending is a problem.”
“They recognized that underspending is a problem. They recognized it as a challenge that the government has to face. In several instances, they have cited underspending. For example, they said that the country’s real GDP slowed down to 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019. The slowdown is largely attributable to government underspending in the first quarter,” he said.
Drilon also cited a report from the Commission on Audit 9COA) which showed that the Department of Public Works and Highways has a disbursement rate of 34.1 percent in 2017 and 39.7 percent in 2018 while the Department of Transportation has a disbursement rate of 25.6 percent in 2017 and 23.8 percent in 2018.
“What does this mean? For every P100.00 budget, they are only spending, let’s say in the case of DOTR, P25.6. In 2017, they only spent P23.00 out of P100.00,” Drilon pointed out.
“Therefore, the contribution of government spending to our economic growth is not being met, not because there are no funds available but because the fund appropriated is not being spent. It is simple as that,” he added.
During Tuesday’s deliberations on the proposed 2020 national budget, Drilon lamented what he called a “simply dismal” execution of the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program.
“Sad to say, this ‘Build, Build, Build’ program of this administration is a dismal failure. Out of the 75 flagship projects that were proposed at this to this administration, exactly nine have started construction, that’s only two percent of the total,” he told reporters in an earlier interview.
“We have only two years and a half years left of this administration, I don’t think any substantial progress in so far as the program is concerned will be achieved as I would repeat the execution is simply dismal,” he added. /je
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