P370.16 billion in ‘lump sums’ in 2023 budget hit | Inquirer News

P370.16 billion in ‘lump sums’ in 2023 budget hit

By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 05:05 AM October 11, 2022
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MANILA, Philippines — The first proposed full-year budget of the Marcos administration contains a total of P370.16 billion for its flagship infrastructure program, which consists of lump sum amounts and lacks details on how these are to be disbursed.

At an online forum on the proposed 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP), ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro also questioned the P7.2 billion worth of intelligence and confidential funds for various agencies, saying the amount was unprecedented in the country’s history.


“We call on the executive department to realign the funds it has lodged under its ‘Build, Better, More’ infrastructure program which has ballooned to P1.196 trillion, as these provide jobs that are only temporary while the funds are siphoned by contractors and corporations for profit,” she said.

Castro and party-list Representatives Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s and Raoul Manuel of Kabataan lamented that the proposed 2023 NEP totaling P5.2 trillion fails to provide a genuine attempt to revive the country’s economy from the impact of COVID-19 and a worsening global crisis.


Lacking in details

The biggest chunk of lump sum funds is reportedly found in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which includes P118.33 billion for its “flood management program,” P102.85 billion for its “convergence program,” P85.15 billion for its “asset preservation program” and P18.4 billion for its “bridge program” although there are no details given of the projects.

According to Castro, the P317.16-billion lump sum items comprise 71.54 percent of the total P517.3-billion allotment that is “parked” under the DPWH central office.

The proposed DPWH budget also lists possible redundant funding for the same items, again with no details but under “repetitive” entries with varying amounts, she noted.

Redundant entries

Castro cited similar entries with funding of P1.43 billion and P830.4 million but labeled only as “construction/improvement access roads leading to airports,” and another listed as “construction/improvement access railways leading to railway stations” amounting to P68.03 million.

Makabayan lawmakers also observed similar entries for “sustainable infrastructure projects alleviating gaps (Sipag) access roads and/or bridges from the national road/s leading to major strategic public buildings/facilities” amounting to P29.85 billion and P12.81 billion.

“So we can see the pattern that the line descriptions are the same, but only differ in amounts, and still with no details,” Castro said.

She added that lump sum entries were also spotted containing “Sipag access road and bridges connecting to communities” with funding of P405 million, of which P355 million was lodged with the DPWH central office.


As for confidential funds, a total of P4 billion has been allotted in next year’s proposed budget on top of P3.2 billion in intelligence funds.

The Office of the President, Castro said, was set to get a total of P4.5 billion in confidential and intelligence expenses.

For the Philippine National Police, there was P806 million in intelligence funds, supposedly for the purpose of gathering information to be used in its anti-criminality campaign.

Vice President Sara Duterte, on the other hand, was allotted a total of P650 million, with P500 million as education secretary and P150 million for the Office of the Vice President, Castro said.


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