A pattern of additions and subtractions in the proposed 2021 budget belies some House members’ claims that they had no hand in infrastructure allocations for districts, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.
Lacson said the changes were noted in the National Expenditure Program, the version prepared by the executive branch, and the General Appropriations Bill passed by the House.
“Yung pattern, nang nagpalit ang liderato, nagpalit ang ihip ng hangin. So ang iba from NEP nabawasan sa GAB under the new leadership. So ang malapit sa kusina yan ang nadagdagan at ang outside the kulambo, yan ang nabawasan. So hindi pwedeng sabihin sabi ng appropriations chairman wala kaming pakialam dito, ito agency-initiated ito at kami kinopya lang namin, copy and paste,” he said in an interview on DZBB radio.
During his interpellation of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget early last Thursday, Lacson noted more than 200 districts got infrastructure allocations of more than P1 billion.
Lacson noted the changes in the allocations indicated the districts perceived to be close to the new House leadership saw an increase in their allocations, while those who are not had their allocations decreased.
He said this should belie the insistence of Reps. Edcel Lagman and Eric Yap that the changes in the GAB were agency-initiated and that the House had no hand in them.
“Kung titingnan mo ang pattern hindi totoo ang sinabi ng ilang kongresista, sina Reps. Lagman and Yap na sinasabi nilang wala silang pakialam kundi agency ang nag-initiate. E doon pa lang makikita mo ang pattern pagka kapalit ng ihip ng hangin, nadagdagan siya; ang outside the kulambo nabawasan,” Lacson said.
“Ang point ko, hindi pwedeng walang pakialam ang kongresista, tulad ng sinabi nila na copy and paste lang nila ano ang nilatag ng ahensya, ng DPWH,” he added.
Lacson maintained the problem with this intervention by lawmakers is that the planning of projects is no longer a factor.
Worse, he said that in the implementation of the project, some lawmakers have favored contractors who always win the bidding.
“At kaya may pakialam ang ilang mambabatas appointed ang kanilang district engineers, halos wala nang kinalaman o decision ang DPWH sino ia-assign na district engineers kasi mga bata-bata na ng mga district representatives,” he added.