Another year, another round of insertions.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday disclosed that at least 42 congressional districts will get a uniform appropriation of P1 million each in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ 2021 budget.
He said this indicates that there are insertions, but made in the National Expenditure Program instead of the House’s General Appropriations Bill.
“May nakita pa kami P1M uniformly appropriated to several districts, I think 42 districts all over the country. What does that mean? Ibig sabihin ito ang insertions na nga, but inserted not anymore under GAB in Congress but sa NEP na submitted very late ng DPWH,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
Lacson said such insertions to the NEP, the version of the budget the executive department submits to Congress, are a violation of the budget process since the preparation phase of the budget is solely the executive’s domain while the authorization phase is Congress’ sole domain.
Meanwhile, Lacson also questioned “rounded figures” for various projects such as buildings.
“Napapansin din namin yan, we also question that year in year out, laging round figures. When you construct a building maski papano may sosobrang P18,000, etc; bakit exact P100 million? Again ang pwede nating sabihing lump sum appropriations ito,” he said.
“And how can you construct a building, ang sabi kasi nila hindi pa bid out. And ito ang parang estimate na parang gagastusin sa pagpagawa ng multipurpose building. That’s fine. Pero di ba dapat vine-vet na ito ng DPWH at meron silang study na ginagawa magkano ang gastos sa paggawa ng MPB o even kalsada? Meron silang civil engineers who can estimate. And even estimates would not amount to round figures,” he added.
Lacson reiterated information he received from some congressmen themselves, indicating there was a lot of haggling that went on between DPWH and some congressmen, so much so that DPWH was not able to submit its proposed budget on time.
“Following that assumption na may haggling, galing na nga talaga sa congressmen ang breakdown an sinubmit ng DPWH na nag-increase ang local projects, especially MPBs, P67B worth of MPBs,” he said.