Pimentel flags P544B lump-sum in DPWH proposed budget

Pimentel flags lump sum DPWH budget

Senator Koko Pimentel (Senate PRIB) 

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Sunday flagged the P544 billion lump-sum appropriations lodged under the 2023 proposed budget of the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH).

Pimentel fears the amount could be a “rich source” of pork barrel funds.

“What I fear the most is, it could be a rich source of pork barrel funds,” Pimentel said in a statement.

“That is why DPWH should disaggregate them and publicize the details immediately,” he added.

Pimentel said the amount, which gives the DPWH “a blanket authority to spend,” is equivalent to 75 percent of the DPWH’s total appropriation.

“This is no small amount,” Pimentel stressed, noting that the agency got P718.4 billion in the proposed 2023 P5.268 trillion National Expenditure Program.

“In the spirit of transparency, I call on the DPWH to provide the details of this huge allocation, down to the last centavo, so the Senate and the public will be able to scrutinize it,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel noted that the lump-sum funds are mostly lodged under the agency’s central office.

Of the P544 billion lump sum appropriation, P213.95 billion are allotted for convergence and special support programs; P86.18 billion for asset preservation program or road rehabilitation, reconstruction and upgrading; P113.09 billion for network development program; P21.09 billion for bridge program; and P109 billion for flood management program, Pimentel said.

The senator said putting lump-sums in a budget is an old practice that should be avoided.

“Lumang tugtugin na ang pagtatago ng bilyun-bilyong lump-sum,” he said.

(It’s an old thing to do, hiding billions of pesos of lump sums.)

“Let’s shun this practice,” Pimentel added.

RELATED STORY: House OKs proposed P5.268-T 2023 budget on 3rd reading