Lacson: Realign P20B for ‘useless’ multi-purpose buildings to disaster rehab
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday pushed for the realignment of P20 billion allocated for “useless” multi-purpose buildings in 2021 to disaster rehabilitation assistance for areas devastated by recent typhoons.
Lacson, during the Senate budget plenary debates, said the funds should be realigned to help local government units (LGUs) recover from the recent calamities “instead of just wasting billions of pesos in unfinished multi-purpose buildings.”
“Some of [these projects] were actually already funded by local government units and yet are still being appropriated sums of money from the General Appropriations Act,” the senator added.
Earlier, Lacson flagged “skeleton” infrastructure projects, which remain unfinished despite it receiving millions of funding in past years but are still seeking additional funding under the 2021 budget amounting to a total of P68 billion.
Lacson said P20 billion would “suffice” for the disaster rehabilitation assistance.
The rest of the P68 billion could be realigned for the national broadband program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology and “other items our colleagues may want to augment,” he added.
Citing a situation report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Lacson said damage caused by Typhoon Rolly amounted to P17.8 billion, while P1.6 billion worth of damage was initially reported due to Typhoon Ulysses.
The senator said he will be making a detailed proposal in the coming days as his office awaits submissions from the NDRRMC on the extent of the damage wrought by recent typhoons and from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for a list of areas and number of families affected by the calamities.
“We will also have to get input from the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) regarding multi-purpose buildings, those useless multi-purpose buildings,” the senator added.
The Senate is scheduled to deliberate on the budget of the DPWH on Wednesday this week.
“We will get their opinion regarding the P68 billion. I am quite sure [DPWH] Secretary [Mark] Villar will be amenable to realigning, sakit ng ulo niya yan [It’s a headache for him],” he added.
Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, said he is open to Lacson’s proposal.
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