Lacson flags P8-B lump sum for security infra projects in DPWH’s 2021 budget
MANILA, Philippines — Close to P8.2 billion in lump sum appropriations for infrastructure projects for the country’s security sector is lodged under the proposed budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Senator Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.
In a message to INQUIRER.net, Lacson said P8.18 billion under the proposed budget of the DPWH is allocated for the construction or improvement of various infrastructure “in support of national security.”
“The P8.18 [billion] is a separate allocation lodged in the DPWH budget described as Appropriations for Construction/ Improvement of Various Infrastructure in support of National Securityin the total proposed amount of P7.58 billion, P7.4 billion of which is lump sum,” he said.
“This amount, in the late submission made by the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) was even increased to P8.18 billion…When DBM made the late submission in behalf of the DPWH, they itemized but not everything,” he added.
The amount that would specifically be allocated for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was “not clear” in the DBM’s submission, added Lacson.
“While there are some details, we cannot ascertain specifically how much will go to the infrastructure projects of the Defense, particularly of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines],” he said.
Lacson said he will seek clarification on these lump sum appropriations from the Department of National Defense (DND) when the Senate finance subcommittee tackles the agency’s budget proposal in a hearing on Monday.
He noted that the P8.18 billion is part of the P396-billion lump sum appropriations he earlier flagged under the proposed budget of the DPWH’s central office.
Officials of the DPWH are also scheduled to face the Senate panel in a budget hearing on Wednesday.
“Papa-detalye namin sa kanila yan. Meron kayong P396 billion na naka-lump sum, anong item ito?” Lacson said.
Further, Lacson said there is also an allocation for the construction of school buildings included under the DPWH budget.
“Even in the construction of school buildings which is under the DepEd, some amounts are allocated under the DPWH’s infra budget,” Lacson told INQUIRER.net in a separate message.
Asked if the budget allocation for the school buildings is also considered as lump sum appropriations, he replied: “Hindi pa namin na-scrutinize.”
“Late next week pa naman budget hearing ng DPWH. I’m sure it also in the billions as in the past years. I take it one at a time. Sabi nga nila, easy lang, mahina kalaban,” Lacson added.
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