DPWH gets P9-B budget hike at Calamity Fund’s expense–Lacson
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) did not only “regain” the more than P8 billion cut from its budget in 2017 but it also received close to P500 million more from the Calamity Fund, Senator Panfilo Lacson has revealed.
Lacson made the disclosure in his Twitter account Tuesday night.
“GAA 2017: DPWH regains slashed 8B (pork?), gets 0.5B more. 8.3B FREE TUITION stays, but CALAMITY FUND suffers cuts, from 37.2B to 15.7B,” the senator wrote on Twitter. GAA is General Appropriations Act.
It was Lacson who pushed for the removal of the P8.3 billion fund transfer from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the DPWH when the 2017 budget was being deliberated in the Senate and the bicameral conference committee.
But based on the initial data that they got from the website of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the senator said the DPWH regained the budget cut and was given additional P497 million.
He said the DPWH’s budget in 2017 was increased by P9 billion, from P445.766 billion to P454.721 billion.
“Apparently, the P8.557B plus another P497M added to the budget of DPWH, which increased by P9.054B (P445.766B to P454.721B), came from the huge cuts suffered by NDRRMF or Calamity Fund under the Special Purpose Fund which was reduced from an original budget of P37.255B to a mere P15.755B or a reduction of 21.5B,” Lacson said in a text message on Wednesday.
“What is unfortunate is that with massive devastations brought by recent calamities starting with Yolanda, Karen, Lawin, Nina, to name some, most of the victims might be left to fend for themselves instead of getting sufficient assistance from the government. Yolanda for example still needs at least P100 billion to fully recover,” he said.
Lacson pointed out that when he was presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III, he recommended a P167.8-billion funding for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” on November 8, 2013.
Until now, however, he said, the annual budget being appropriated for that purpose since 2014 has been a “trickle in the bucket compared to the total budget required.”
“What is sad here is the thought of sacrificing the victims of calamities for political favors and alliances,” Lacson said, still referring to the budget cut made in the Calamity Fund.
Lacson and neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian were the only senators who voted against the ratification of the 2017 budget in the Senate. CDG
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