Villafuerte confirms budget for infra projects in CamSur slashed
MANILA, Philippines — Camarines Sur 2nd District LRay Villafuerte Jr. on Thursday confirmed the budget for infrastructure projects in Camarines Sur has been reduced.
According to him, a total of P386 million was slashed from the House-approved allocations in the Department of Public Works and Highways budget for three of the administration’s flagship projects in Bicol.
These were greenlighted by the National Economic and Development Authority, he added.
“If the current House leadership claims to be fully supportive of the Duterte administration, why has it slashed on the sly the DPWH outlays in the House-endorsed General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for three of the flagship projects in Bicol that were approved by the NEDA Board chaired by the President himself?” Villafuerte said.
The Camarines Sur lawmaker made the confirmation after Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed that supporters of former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano suffered cuts in their budgets while those allied with Speaker Lord Allan Velasco gained “noticeable” increases.
Villafuerte, a staunch ally of Cayetano, said P182 million from the budget earmarked for the CamSur expressway, a 15-kilometer, four-lane road with waterways, bike lanes, and sidewalks, was removed.
Another P124 million was removed from the budget of the CamSur-Albay Diversion Road, which is a 61.90-km road project that will decongest the main road from Camarines Sur to Albay, according to Villafuerte.
Meanwhile, P80 million more was slashed from the budget allocated for the Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Highway, which is a 40.69-km, four lane coastal road along the Camarines Sur’s west coast.
The CamSur Expressway and Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Highway are on the list of projects under President Rodrigo Duterte’s program “Build, Build, Build,” according to the NEDA website.
Villafuerte urged senators to “keep tabs” on the allocations of all congressional districts during the bicameral conference committee that both chambers of Congress will convene following the Senate’s final approval of the proposed P4.5 trillion budget bill.
“I hope our senators would keep tabs on the actual allocations of all congressional districts in the would-be bicam talks by both chambers on the GAB for submission to the President,” he said.
“[This is] in light of suspicions that more unwarranted budget cuts are forthcoming as a way to increase the infrastructure outlays for the districts of representatives closely identified with the current House leadership,” he added.
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