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Weh ‘di nga? Mark Villar insists no hidden pork in DPWH’s 2019 budget

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Public Works Secretary Mark Villar on Monday insisted that there is “no pork barrel” fund in the proposed 2019 budget of his department amounting to P555.7 billion.

Villar was at the Senate yesterday to defend the proposed allocation for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“This is all budgeted and all will go through the process,” he said in an interview after presenting the DPWH budget to the senators.

“When you talk about pork barrel, these are discretionary funds. Wala pong discretionary funds. These are all line items,” Villar said.

Asked to comment on the warning of Sen. Panfilo Lacson that he will move for the deletion of the P16 billion DPWH budget for road right of way (ROW), Villar said, “Whatever is provided for in the law, we will follow.”

“So, it would just coordinate with Sen. Lacson in order to address any issue,” he said.

Pressed whether the DPWH can comply with the Senate’s requirement that the agency observe cash-based budgeting in the implementing infrastructure projects, Villar said, “We will comply kasi that’s the government policy.”

“Mag-ko comply naman kami. Pansin n’yo ang basis ng budget namin next year cash-based,” he stressed.

Villar, however, admitted that it would be a big challenge for the DPWH to adopt cash-based budget system. “Planning talaga ang challenge sa cash-based (budgeting).”

“S’yempre sa planning kailangan naming i-anticipate kung ano lang ang kayang gawin sa year na ‘yan. So, medyo mas challenging sa planning department. pero kaya namin,” he said.

“Under cash-based (budgeting) no matter (what happens) mag-la lapse din ang pondo after one year. So, we are very particular sa mga project na kailangan tapusin,” he said.

Asked whether infrastructure projects would be delayed under cash-based buget system, Villar said, “Di naman magkakadelay dahil sa cash based.”

“It’s with the planning kailangan lang mas mabilis at accurate ang planning kasi maglalapse ang pondo,” he said.

“Under cash-based, ‘pag may multi-year obligation ka, you can bid big projects basta mag-a apply ka sa multiyear obligation,” he said.

Villar added, “Pag nakuha mo ‘yan p’wede namang every 3 years, i-identify mo lang ano ang gagawin mo sa 1st year, 2nd year. Mas masalen lang sa planning.”

“Kaya kami di kami nag identify nang di kayang tapusin ng 1 year. Kaya challenge sa planning kailangan ‘yung i-identify na project kailangan matapos ng year na ‘yun,” he said.