Lacson: DPWH’s Dubious Appropriations a Key Starting Point for Palace Review of 2021 Budget

Dubious items in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget for 2021 – including double and overlapping appropriations – could be a key starting point for Malacañang in reviewing the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said.

Lacson, who bared and questioned such irregularities in the DPWH’s budget in committee hearings all the way to the plenary, said he is willing to help in the review by pointing out items for potential veto.

“It is clear that questionable items such as double and overlapping appropriations should be vetoed, along with at least 793 line items for multi-purpose buildings with a uniform P1-million appropriation each,” he said in an interview on DZRH radio Thursday evening.

During his interpellation of the bicameral conference committee report of the 2021 budget, Lacson questioned the P28.348-billion increase in the DPWH’s budget despite its track record of underspending and questionable, wasteful projects.

Before this, Lacson recommended a reduction of P60 billion from the DPWH’s proposed budget for 2021, including for multi-purpose buildings except those to be used as evacuation and quarantine facilities, as well as double appropriations, right-of-way payments and also overlapping projects.

Meanwhile, Lacson said he is considering his options on how to aid in the review of the budget bill by giving his inputs in his capacity as a senator.

In expressing his willingness to help in the review, Lacson cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s vetoing of some P95 billion in items in the 2019 budget, after senators including Lacson raised concerns over the abuse and indiscretions by some legislators in inserting pork into the spending bill.

“This is with the aim of helping those involved in the review at least take a closer look at projects that should be scrutinized and even vetoed. In turn, this will make sure not a single centavo in the 2021 budget will go to wasteful projects,” he added.