President Rodrigo Duterte never fails to remind the public that Transportation Secretary Art Tugade is one of the brightest and the richest in his Cabinet.
But more than a year into office, Tugade has yet to show the public the supposed brains and business savvy that Duterte saw in his San Beda classmate to deserve his post.
Senator Ralph Recto noted that Tugade has virtually done nothing after 15 months into office as shown by the huge idle funds amassed by the Department for Transportation (DoTr) under his watch.
During the budget deliberations in the Senate, Recto pointed out that Tugade ended 2016 with P30.6 billion in unused funds. This year, Recto said Tugda has piled up another P56 billion inunobligated funds from the DOTR budget.
“Again, let me state. The P30 billion in 2016 plus the P56 billion is P86 billion. Mas malaki paiyong unobligated than the entire year’s budget of the DOTr,” said Recto.
Tugade has proposed a P76,707,953,000 budget for DoTr in 2018 or 26 percent more than its budget this year. Recto said Tugade’s office has control over the lion’s share or 68 percent of theDoTr budget with P52,472,433,000.
Recto expressed his misgivings about giving more money Tugade who, despite having billions in funds at his fingertips, has failed to deliver driver’s licenses and license plates after more than a year in office.
“In spite of a budget of P76 billion in 2017, wala tayo ni isang plaka ng kotse. Now, why embark on those other programs (P300 billion jeepney replacement program)? Why not think of their budget? How will they spend their 2018 budget, hindi ba? Iyong babaguhin natin lahatng jeep ay makaka-resolve ba ng traffic iyan? Saka na iyan, ayusin muna iyong EDSA; ayusinninyo muna iyong traffic; ayusin muna iyongMRT. Bakit ang iniisip natin ay papalitan natin lahatng jeep kaagad?” said Recto.
“What will stop me now from recommending another P10 million cut? Because you cannot spend your budget anyway,” said Recto.
Apart from failing to deliver on the EDSA bus rapid transport system and construction of more airports (that Tugade had blamed on lack of detailed engineering plans), Recto noted that Tugade could not even do simple tasks such as erecting buildings.
Since 2016, Tugade, who was reported to have dismissed Metro Manila’s horrendous traffic as a “state of minde”, had been allocated P183 million budget to build Land Transportation Office buildings on time in Agoo, La Union; Bacoor and Imus Cavite; and Tubod, Lanao delNorte.
“We are talking about an LTO building-yon lamang hindi magawa; perimeter fence and site development hanggang ngayon hindi nagawa,” said Recto.
Recto suggested that Tugade focus on his job. “Hindi iyong kalat iyong pag-iisip.”
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