Lacson wants P63 billion slashed from DPWH budget

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2020 10:34 AM | Updated as of Nov 25 2020 05:02 PM

Sen. Panfilo Lacson presides over the Committee on Finance Subcommittee C hybrid hearing on September 29, 2020. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB

MANILA (UPDATE) - Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday he is seeking the removal of some P63 billion from the Department of Public Works and Highways budget, which are allocations for non-priority infra projects for next year.

About P43 billion of this allocation was earmarked for multipurpose buildings, which he does not think are aligned with the 2021 budget theme of "reset, rebound, recover" from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. Budget for national buildings will be retained under this proposal.

"Not only from the multi-purpose building projects, but we also proposed to delete some amount from the double appropriations, right-of-way issues or budget and also overlapping projects. Ang total nito, P63 billion," Lacson told ANC's Headstart.

The funds should instead be used for the national broadband program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the "flexible learning options" projects of the Department of Education, and the Department of Health's implementation of the Universal Healthcare Law, he said.

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Lacson is also eyeing some P20 billion to augment the allocation for local governments which were badly hit by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses, for the construction of evacuation centers and quarantine facilities, among others.

LGUs will just have to submit to the Department of the Interior and Local Government their post-disaster needs assessment and plans moving forward, and the agency will decide on how much to allocate, he said.

Among those that can apply is Camarines Sur, which he said was allotted less in the budget draft transmitted to the Senate but was battered badly by the recent consecutive storms.

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