Quimbo made the recommendation as the House of Representatives is set to approve the proposed P4.5-trillion budget for 2021 on the third and final reading Friday night.
“The approach should be, us looking at the agencies with big budgets that seemingly cannot be utilized. For one, the Department of Transportation underspent P80 billion in 2020, and also underspent around P80 billion 2019,” Quimbo said in an ANC interview.
“If the agency cannot seem to absorb the huge budget given to it, iyon ‘yung fund na dapat ma-reduce. As a general principle, we should focus on serious underspending by certain agencies,” Quimbo, also an economist, added.
She added allocations for infrastructure projects for districts should have a minimum amount to ensure equity and that the allocation is responsive to the people’s needs.
“Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has already expressed his concerns on inequity, and I think there should be a reasonable minimum amount for every district,” Quimbo said.
Quimbo: Slash budget of underspending agencies
“Of course, we also have to see to it that the budget of the district should not be worse compared with last year kasi dapat nag-i-improve over time. There are also districts with greater needs, so we should be able to provide them more resources,” Quimbo added.
Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte earlier argued over infrastructure funds allocated to some districts.
Teves questioned the P8 billion allocations for Taguig City, where Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano serves and P11.8 billion for Camarines Sur under Villafuerte.
As for government offices with an underspent budget, Commission on Audit earlier flagged the vice president’s Office for its supposed slow use of medical assistance program funds.
In 2016, COA’s audit report of the OVP for 2019 said the office still has yet to utilize its P122.8 million pending medical assistance program (MAP) funds for 2019 — now totaling at P195 million — which could have facilitated financial aid for hospitalized indigents all over the country.