Interpellation of the DPWH budget for 2019

During the interpellation of the DPWH’s budget for 2019, Sen. Lacson raised the following issues:
* the addition of P75 billion in the DPWH’s budget in the National Expenditure Program, without the DPWH’s knowledge
* woes of landowners whose lots were affected by DPWH projects with right-of-way components
* some data of the DPWH website being inaccessible when the DPWH’s budget is up for deliberation

Quotes from the interpellation… 

On the P75 billion addition in the DPWH budget:

“Let me preface my interpellation with a very simple statement: ‘When preparation is defective, everything that follows, fails.’”

“Under the 2019 budget, DBCC set a P480B budget ceiling for DPWH. This is much lower than what DPWH submitted to DBM with the amount of P651B. My question is, even before this was taken up during the Question Hour, was the DPWH aware that P75B was added to the P480B initially set by DBM?”

“How would they (DPWH) implement P75B worth of projects kung di nila alam?”

“Ang tanong, was the DPWH even consulted by DBM na bibigyan kayo ng P75B, kaya adjust nyo ang projects ninyo? … The bigger concern, paano mai-implement? DPWH did not know P75B worth of projects had been added. May budget, walang project. Paano mai-implement?”

“During the break there was an agreement … that the P75B they admitted not knowing until it was included in NEP, be deleted, at the proper time during the period of amendments. The DPWH is amenable to such.”

On Right-of-Way Issues:

“We go to the issue of ROW, unsettled ROW issue (in the Tacloban City Bypass Road Extension). May tinamaan Regina Hills Subdivision. The residents were interviewed. It poses danger or hazard to motorists. Cut ang road pero ginagamit na. Yet, why can’t you settle the ROW payments sa concerned claimants? Request ng homeowners maglagay ng tangke ng tubig and they will allow.”

“What I will show you next ang mga kawawang tao rito na tinamaan ng ROW who do not know how to proceed. Apparently they were not told and they were looking for the project engineer and could not find him… ang pinagtataka nila may widening aspect dito. One of the interviewees told our team, sinabihan sila na nabayaran ang kanilang ninuno. And apparently, I hope I’m wrong, there’s deception because the project engineer or whoever told them was referring to the original road. Ang tinamaan sa kanila road widening… there’s an original concrete road, a 2-lane road. Tinamaan sila sa widening.”

“I’d like to appeal to the DPWH baka pwede naman madaliin natin, there’s a social injustice na ang mga tao di nakapag-aral, walang wherewithal to hire an attorney.”

“Di ba pwede i-settle nyo para ang tao di nakabilad? One person is living in a tent because ang kanyang (lupa) tinamaan ng kalsada. Why would the project engineer or contractor inform the residents there na matagal nang na-settle when he was referring to the 2-lane road constructed much earlier, ang mga natamaan sa widening. Apparently there was deception. May I appeal to the chair of the finance committee baka pwede settle ito ASAP.”

“May we appeal to the DPWH to settle once and for all these ROW issues. They have been living there for a very long time. Walang nakikipagusap. Pinapirma sila ng permit to enter. Have pity, Mr. President. These are people who appear helpless. Sabi nga nila isa sa na-interview namin sa Visayas, anong laban namin kung gobyerno ang kalaban namin. Another person told us ni wala silang pang-attorney paano sila lalaban.”

“Bakit pag sindikato, this happened before the present leadership, P8.6B napunta sa sindikato sa GenSan. We conducted a hearing here. Bakit kung ganoon fake titles, fictitious claimants, ang bilis, pero ang totoo di ma-settle?”

On data in the DPWH website being inaccessible:

“Every time we conduct deliberations on the budget of the DPWH laging down ang website. We noticed that as a pattern. Basta may budget deliberation down ang website.”