Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned if the increase in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) proposed 2021’s budget was for advancing political interests in the 2022 elections.
Lacson said the increase and the “juggled” funds of DPWH could “only indicate massive realignments and insertions introduced by the legislators.”
The DPWH received the second-highest budget allocation with P694.8 billion. This was P28.3 billion higher compared to what was stated in the National Expenditure Program.
“It begs the question: Is this an election campaign budget?” Lacson, who earlier called for realignment of infrastructure funds, said in a statement.
“Even the multi-purpose buildings that I had repeatedly questioned in the committee hearings all the way to plenary gained more funds instead of being reduced, despite the obvious waste of funds due to the failure of the DPWH to implement them,” he added.
Lacson noted he could support a budget bill that he has not fully examined.
“I cannot give my vote to a measure as important as the national budget without having read the details of the said bicameral conference report,” he said.
“What happened is now water under the bridge. But it is high time we learn our lessons from this.”
Lacson questions increase in DPWH 2021 budget
Earlier, Senato Sonny Angara, who led the Senate contingent in the bicam, said that touching the congressional districts’ infrastructure budget would delay the passage of the 2021 national budget.
“Yes, we discussed it. But again, you take away those projects from a certain congressman’s district, you’re gonna have a problem, and that’s not gonna allow you to pass the budget by yearend so may tatamaan talaga doon,” Angara said.
“There’s always compromise in any budget. Otherwise, you would never get your budget passed if you don’t want to give and take a little bit,” he added.
Angara said district representatives are naturally inclined to seek budgets for infrastructure projects requested by their constituents.
“You talk to any congressman, and they will tell you hinihingan sila sa districts. So, I think those are the requirements of the job partly,” Angara said.
“When you are up for re-election in three years, your constituents will ask you, ‘Did you bring home the bacon to our area, to our district?’ So ‘yan ang usapan diyan, di maiwasan ‘yan taun-taon,” he added.