Palace tells Lacson: Duterte abhors giving favors; DPWH fund not pork
MANILA — Malacañang said on Wednesday it understood the concerns of Sen. Panfilo Lacson regarding the 2017 budget, but insisted that it has been compliant with the Supreme Court rulings that shot down discretionary and lump-sum funds, such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program.
President Duterte’s spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Department of Public Works and Highways would be in charge of projects addressing the effects of calamities.
“The Department of Public Works and Highways is solely responsible for identified projects— from repair and reconstruction of permanent structures to communities or areas affected by man-made and natural calamities,” Abella said in a statement.
He said President Duterte would not condone individuals getting special favors.
“The President is particularly abhorrent to giving favors to particular individuals … even allies, in line with his inaugural vow to serve every one and not only one,” he said.
Earlier, Lacson said the P8.5 billion fund that he had sought to be removed from the DPWH budget for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was restored when data from the Department of Budget and Management showed that the same amount was taken from the calamity funds and moved to the DPWH and about P500 million more was given to the DPWH. Earlier, there were reports that the P8.5 billion was re-allotted as funds to subsidize tuition of poor students in state colleges and universities. Lacson said the free tuition scheme through the P8.5-billion allotment remained. SFM