DPWH proposed budget riddled with ‘pork’ – Lacson
Senator Panfilo Lacson has identified various “pork” and lump sum funds in the proposed budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways for 2017, including a P1.5 billion allocation for one legislative district (LD) only.
Lacson noted that in the DPWH proposed budget, there was an allocation of P1.525 billon for the first LD of Agusan del Norte.
“Ang announcement before the NEP (National Expenditure Program) was submitted, ang in-announced hanggang P 100 million ina-allow nilang mag submit ang mga congressmen sa DBM (Department of Budget and Management,” he said during Monday’s floor deliberations on the agency’s proposed budget next year.
“Pero pag umabot na ng P1.5 billion ang isang congressman or isang LD, I don’t know if it belongs to only one congressman pero isang district lang, hindi po ba sobra na yun?”
Senator Loren Legarda, who was defending the DPWH’s budget as chair of the Senate committee on finance, said the fund was part of Mindanao Logistics Program of the national government.
“That’s not a project of a legislator. This is part of the Mindanao master plan…” Legarda said.
She later agreed with Lacson’s suggestion to just change its implementors from LDs to district engineering office.
Lacson also noted that on top of the P118.7 billion allocation for school buildings under the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget, another P705 million budget was allotted for the same item under the DPWH.
From the original P489 million proposal in the NEP, he said, the school building allocation under the General Appropriations Bill was raised to P705 million or an increase of P216.283 million.
“Under the DepEd, there’s already an allocation of P118.7 billion for basic education facilities. Now, we’re informed by DepEd that the projects listed under the DPWH did not come from them. May we ask the good sponsor how come there’s an allocation for school buildings under the DPWH budget considering there’s already a budget for the same purpose under the DepEd?” Lacson asked.
When Legarda said that the amendments were probably done in the House of Representatives, Lacson said, “Yes, House amendments so PDAF po ito ng mga congressmen.”
PDAF is the lawmakers’ Priority development Assistance Fund also known as pork barrel, which was declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Legarda surmised that congressmen probably made the proposal because they are the ones who know the need of their respective districts.
“That’s encroaching on the functions of the DepEd e. Anyway, DPWH din naman nag-i-implement ng P118 billion program ng school building program ng DepEd so why there’s another set of school buildings…?” she said.
Legarda later proposed to just remove the funding from the DPWH and transferred it to the DepEd.
“We will take it out of DPWH and we can put in DepEd para walang mawawalan on the ground. Hindi natin sinasabing kinat- (cut) ang classrooms and school building and may kawalan. Yung tama lang na ahensya ang mag i-implement,” she said.
“Ang mawawalan yung congressmen I assure you…” Lacson said in jest.
Lacson also questioned the 45 lump sum items in the DPWH, each amounting P10 million or a total of P450 million supposedly intended for “construction, rehabilitation of various drainage systems.”
Legarda said the allocation was a contingent fund but agreed to just remove it from the DPWH’s central office and itemize it in the regions and districts.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.