Lacson: Gov’t agencies pressured to accommodate projects submitted by solons
MANILA, Philippines — Government agencies are pressured to accommodate pet projects submitted by legislators even if these departments would not know how to implement them, according to Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Lacson disclosed this on Thursday amid ongoing deliberations on the proposed 2020 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) where he called out appropriations for several “vague” projects.
“Pagdating ng March or April, tatawag ng budget call ang Malacañang and the agencies will defend their request for funding. Sometimes pinagbibigyan na lang maski di mai-defend ang pagpopondo sa mga proyekto wala na rin sila magagawa because these are requests submitted by legislators,” the senator told reporters in an interview.
(Come March or April, Malacañang would have a budget call and the agencies will defend their request for funding. Sometimes they would just accommodate the project even if they could not defend its budget, they can’t do anything about it since they were requests submitted by legislators).
“Okay lang ‘yan as long as the agencies that will implement are able to prepare or plan. Ang problema kung ‘di congruent sa needs ng agency, hindi nila implement yan,” he added.
(That would be okay as long as the agencies that will implement are able to prepare or plan. It would be a problem if the projects are not congruent with the needs of the agency.)
He said that funding for the requested projects of congressmen had been included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) even before the proposed 2020 budget was transmitted to Congress.
“I’m not blaming at all DPWH because there are some submissions beyond their control. Even during the committee hearing, si Secretary (Mark) Villar was candid enough to admit ang iba riyan hindi namin alam kasi submitted ng congressmen (some of the projects we didn’t know about because they were submitted by congressmen),” Lacson went on.
“Dati, pagdating sa (House of Representatives ng NEP) saka nag-introduce ng amendments. Nagbago sila ng tact, ang ginawa nila, sa NEP pa lang nagsa-submit na sila,” he said.
(Before, amendments are introduced when the spending plan is transmitted to the House of Representatives).
This would be easy for congressmen to do because they themselves are members of the local development council, Lacson said.
The local development council (LDC) is the one who submits the local development plans (LDP) to the regional development council (RDC) who would then recommend the said projects to the national government.
“He can even send his representative sa barangay development council. They can discuss whatever projects they want to implement in their districts sa LDCs. And when finally pinadala ito sa RDC, kasama project nila roon (their projects are included there),” Lacson said.
Asked to react to Lacson’s claims, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the agency always receives project recommendations from anyone.
“The budget is for the people and anyone can recommend budgetary items, it could be a mayor, a congressman, it can be anyone, pwede silang magrecommend ng project…(they can recommend the project). Lahat naman kayo pwedeng mag-recommend samin ng project (Anyone can recommend a project). That’s everyone’s right. It’s our job to vet the projects and that’s what we do,” Villar told reporters at the Senate.
“That’s really the process. All the projects are vetted and when we put it on the NEP those are projects that have a good impact on our country,” he added.
Edited by JE
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