At the hearing on the proposed 2021 budget, Sen. Lacson raised questions on the following issues:
* Ability of DPWH, DoTr to accomplish infrastructure programs to rebound from pandemic
* P396B in lump sums in the DPWH’s budget – lodged in the central office
* Re-appropriations involving 2,933 items worth P73.5B in the proposed budget
* P30B not yet allocated for COVID-19 response
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, one of the few sensible souls in the Cabinet, has proposed to prioritize the hiring of contact tracers en masse to boost efforts to stop transmission and provide jobs to stimulate the economy through spending.
Contact tracing is a key first step in addressing the COVID-19 threat. It should provide the baseline data or reference on who to test. Without it, our mass testing will be like shooting at the moon or running around like headless chickens.
Kung maipapatupad ang mungkahing ito nang maayos, maaari nating lutasin agad ang dalawang problema.
Ang bagay na ito ay nasa kamay na ng liderato ng Department of Health: Maiimplementa kaya nila ang mungkahi ni Secretary Dominguez?
Not true. Instead, my suggestion didn’t sit well with the congressmen.
Executive Secretary Medialdea and Finance Secretary Dominguez in fact favorably endorsed my suggestion to President Rodrigo Duterte as a practical and logical approach to break the impasse, especially when I informed the President about the House of Representatives substantially slashing the P72.319-billion DPWH appropriations for the agency’s MFO1 and MFO2 (Major Final Output), which will have negative implications on the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program.
What was obvious last night is that the suggestion didn’t sit well with the congressmen because they cannot be sure if all their realignments will be adopted. It’s all about their pork, not mindful if they will be derailing the flagship projects of the government.