House Committee on Appropriations chair Eric Yap explained Monday that it was the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that reallocated the P386-million cut from CamSur (Camarines Sur) infrastructure budget for 2021.
Last week, CamSur Representative LRay Villafuerte decried the budget cut for his province’s infrastructure projects under the House-approved version of the proposed P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget.
Yap confirmed the budget cut in an interview but said these are not for the projects of CamSur’s second district.
“Yun ay part ng Build, Build, Build na inilipat din ni [DPWH] Secretary Mark [Villar] sa mas matatapos nang Build, Build, Build,” he said.
“Ganun ang ginagawa ng DPWH. Kung ano yung kayang tapusin nang 2022, talagang pinapaspasan na nila para matapos nila,” he added.
Confirming Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that allies of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano received budget cuts, Villafuerte said budgets for the following projects were slashed:
- P182 million budget for the CamSur Expressway
- P124 million for the CamSur-Albay Diversion Road
- P80 million for the Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Highway
DPWH cut CamSur’s infra projects budget, not lawmakers – Yap
Villafuerte said these projects were all under the government’s Build, Build, Build program for CamSur and approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
“If the current House leadership claims to be fully supportive of the Duterte administration, why has it slashed the DPWH outlays in the House-endorsed General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for three of the flagship projects in Bicol that were approved by the NEDA Board chaired by the President himself?” he said.
However, Yap insisted that it was the DPWH itself that initiated to amend the House-approved 2021 budget, not the lawmakers.
“Si Secretary Mark kasi, sila yung may say kasi sila yung may district engineer, sila yung may regional director na magche-check ng mas kailangan,” he said.
He added Villar would not be biased regarding the matter since he belongs to Nacionalista Party with Cayetano.
“Pagdating sa allegations kung nagtanggal ba yung [sa] mga tao ni Speaker [Lord Allan] Velasco o nagdagdag, ang masasabi ko ay hindi. Kasi si Speaker Velasco hindi siya nakialam sa akin pagdating ng period of amendments,” Yap said.
“Kumbaga, ang ginawa kong instruction, pagdating sa mga ibang agencies, puro agency-initiated pwera lang doon sa P20 billion na in-identify namin papunta sa C-130 na makapag-down ng dalawang C-130, papunta sa vaccine, papunta sa mga TUPAD, AICS kung saan ang mga Pilipino ang nakikinabang,” he added.