House panel defers debates on DPWH’s budget over attendance issue
MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on appropriations deferred Thursday the discussion on the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) over concerns regarding the attendance of the agency’s officials.
Only three lawmakers have finished their interpellations when House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. made the motion to defer the deliberations.
Abante said that there are only two undersecretaries and three assistant secretaries who are physically present on the plenary floor. DPWH Secretary Mark Villar was attending the deliberations through videoconferencing.
“The reason why the deliberation of the budget of the DPWH is being held in the plenary [is] because we would like the officials of the DPWH to be with us,” Abante said.
“Of course, Secretary Mark Villar is a very good friend and perhaps if they [would not] be able to attend, then they should, with respect, write the committee of appropriations… tayo naman we are being present here,” he added.
Abante said it is hard to hear clearly the discussion especially with the new hybrid set-up in place during the budget deliberations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Since the other day, when we were deliberating with the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology), we have a problem on listening and even hearing the deliberations,” Abante said.
“With due respect, mahirap talagang pakinggan, mahirap tayong makapag-usap ng mahusay dito because even the DICT has admitted that our internet is very slow and it’s very hard to listen,” the lawmaker added.
Abante’s motion was approved and the deliberations on DPWH’s budget were deferred.
The lawmaker’s motion happened just as the discussions in the plenary heat up.
Right before Abante’s motion, Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. was grilling Villar over the distribution of funds to various districts in the country.
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