DOTr asks senators to restore airport infra funds in 2021 budget | Inquirer News
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DOTr asks senators to restore airport infra funds in 2021 budget

/ 04:44 PM October 02, 2020
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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. INQUIRER.net file photo / Ryan Leagogo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) appealed for the restoration of airport infrastructure funds removed under the proposed 2021 budget, a request senators agreed to approve.

During the Senate hearing into the proposed P143.1-billion budget of the DOTr for next year, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian asked the agency about the reduction in funding for aviation infrastructure projects.

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From the P2.4 billion for 2020, the budget for such projects was cut to only P1 million, according to the DOTr’s presentation.

“Marami ho tayong mga airport projects na importante sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa ho natin na natanggalan ng pondo,” Gatchalian said.

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(We have many important airport projects across the country, but a lot of the funding was taken out.)

“Of course rail is important but the airport is equally as important considering that we are an archipelagic country,” he added.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general Jim Sydiongco told senators that an additional P9.36 billion is needed to implement 38 airport projects, which did not get funding under the proposed 2021 budget.

Of these projects, seven were “upon the direction” of President Rodrigo Duterte, 11 are part of the government’s infrastructure flagship projects while the rest are for the maintenance and expansion of existing airports in the country, said the CAAP official.

Under the proposed 2021 budget of the DOTr, rail projects received the lion’s share of funds with P106.3 billion.

The maritime sector got P166 million while the budget allocation for road projects amounted to P101 million.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade confirmed that funds for some airport projects were taken out from its original proposal to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

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According to Tugade, he already sent separate letters to the House of Representatives as well as the Senate to request the restoration of the budget for airport infrastructure.

“Hinihingi po namin na kung maaari ay ikonsidera na yung mga tinanggal. Tama ho, kung bibigyan natin ng importansya yung riles ng tren as a mode of transportation, kailangan din natin yung airport, yung maritime, yung road,” the transport chief said.

(We asked for the consideration of restoring the projects taken out. You’re right, if we give importance to railways as a mode of transportation, we also need to give the same recognition to airports.)

Senator Grace Poe, who presided over the hearing, said she would approve the restoration of budget allocations that were removed for several airport projects.

“Basta airport, go,” she said.

(For airports, I will approve.)

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri also expressed support for the funding for aviation projects.

“In fairness to [DBM] Secretary [Wendel] Avisado, he told me he will not object if we include it in the budget. He said he understands the necessity of these airport projects,” Zubiri said.

The DOTr was asked to submit to the Senate a list of the airport projects it wants restored under the 2021 budget.

tags news, nation, airport projects, DOTr, Senate, 2021 budget

JPV, JE

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TAGS: airport, airport budget, airport infrastructure fund, DoTr, Gatchalian, Infra, Poe, Transportation, Tugade
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