Infra budget of some districts hiked after House leadership change — Lacson

MANILA, Philippines — The infrastructure budget of some congressional districts for 2021 has increased following the change of leadership at the House of Representatives, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.

Lacson said his office had noticed an increase in the infrastructure budget in the House’s version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

“Nagpalit sila ng liderato. Nang nagpalit ang liderato napansin namin ang sa NEP (National Expenditure Program) isang distrito P9B, siguro medyo matibay ang distrito na ‘yan, paglabas ng GAB meaning under the new leadership, umabot ng P15B,” he said in an interview with dzBB.

(They changed leadership. When they changed the leadership, we noticed that the district that had P9 billion under NEP, now has P15 billion in GAB under the new leadership.)

“May distrito rin na nasa P4-5B, paglabas ng GAB nadagdagan ng another P4 to 5B, P7.9B, 7.5B. So nakakagulat talaga. Ganito ba ang kalakaran? Di ba ang mahirap na distrito mas malaki ang makuha para maka-develop sila? ‘Yan ang issue,” he added.

(There is one district that has P4.5 billion, but when the GAB was finalized, there was an increase of another P4 to 5 billion, P7.9 billion, P7.5 billion. So it is really shocking. Is this the new system? Should not poor districts have more budget so they can be developed? That is the issue.)

Lacson also hinted that the infrastructure budget that increased are those of congressional districts with representatives who appear to have close ties with Velasco.

“Ang pattern, nang nagpalit ang liderato, nagpalit ang ihip ng hangin. So ang iba from NEP nabawasan sa GAB under the new leadership. So ang malapit sa kusina yan ang nadagdagan at ang outside the kulambo, yan ang nabawasan,” he said.

(The pattern is when the leadership was changed, the “atmosphere” was changed. So the budgets of other districts were changed compared to NEP and GAB under the new leadership. So those “near the kitchen” had more funds and those “outside the mosquito net” had decreased budgets.)

He then went on saying that this will lead to poor planning and implementation of infrastructure projects.

“Ang mali riyan, nababalewala ang planning. Tulad ng nag-interpellate ako sa DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) ang daming situation na dahil sa poor planning, mali-mali ang paglalatag, pati pag-implement. Tulad ng nagkakaroon ng overlapping, kasi mali ang planning. Sayang ang pera,” Lacson said.

(What is wrong here is the planning is overlooked. Just like in my interpellation on the DPWH budget, there are a lot of situations of poor planning and implementation. There was overlapping [of projects] because of poor planning. Government funds are wasted.) is seeking comment from Velasco about Lacson’s claim.