Anong ginagawa ng P147.283 bilyong halaga ng duplicate projects sa badyet ng Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) para sa 2022?
Kinuwestyon ito ni Senador Ping Lacson nitong Martes matapos malaman ang tungkol sa duplicate projects sa ilalim ng “Convergence and Special Support Program” sa panukalang badyet ng ahensya.
“We note that under the program ‘Convergence and Special Support Program,’ there is apparent duplication of projects, particularly under the Sustainable Infrastructure Projects Alleviating Gaps (SIPAG) and Basic Infrastructure Program (BIP),” ani Lacson sa deliberasyon ng badyet ng DPWH para sa 2022.
What is some P147.283 billion in duplicate projects doing in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for 2022?
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson raised this issue Tuesday as he pointed out the duplicate projects under the “Convergence and Special Support Program” in the agency’s proposed budget.
“We note that under the program ‘Convergence and Special Support Program,’ there is apparent duplication of projects, particularly under the Sustainable Infrastructure Projects Alleviating Gaps (SIPAG) and Basic Infrastructure Program (BIP),” Lacson said at the deliberations on the budget of the DPWH for 2022.
Hanggang papel lang ang umano’y pagsunod ng Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) sa direktiba ng Korte Suprema at Malacañang na i-devolve o ilipat ang ilang tungkulin at pondo nito sa mga lokal na unit ng pamahalaan sa 2022, ayon kay Senador Ping Lacson nitong Martes.
Base sa panukalang badyet ng DPWH na nagkakahalaga ng P686.1 bilyon para sa 2022, ang central office pa rin nito ang hahawak sa mga pondo na nakalaan sa items at mga proyekto na dapat na ilipat na at ipatupad mismo ng mga LGU.
“While 89 percent ang nawala sa Local Program, nag-increase ang Convergence and Special Support Program by 232 percent,” pahayag ni Lacson sa pagdinig ng badyet ng DPWH sa Senado.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)’s compliance with the Supreme Court and Malacañang’s directives to devolve certain functions – and funds – to the local government units for 2022 may be good only on paper, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson bared Tuesday.
Lacson noted that in the DPWH’s proposed P686.1-billion budget for 2022, it is still the central office that handles funds for items and projects which should be devolved and implemented by LGUs.
“While 89 percent ang nawala sa Local Program, nag-increase ang Convergence and Special Support Program by 232 percent (While there was an 89-percent decrease from funds for local programs, there was an increase of 232 percent for convergence and special support programs),” he said at the hearing for the DPWH’s 2022 budget.
Mas magiging epektibo at matagumpay ang mga hakbang para basagin ang “vicious cycle” ng korapsiyon, kung makikiisa at magiging aktibo ang publiko sa laban na ito.
Isa ito sa mga nakikitang solusyon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, sa harap ng katotohanan na naging ugali na ng mga nasasangkot na magpalamig at manahimik lamang muna hanggang sa tuluyan nang makalimutan ng tao ang kanilang ginawa.
“Some officials have lost all sense of shame. Even if charges are filed against them, they just lie low because they know that once the issue dies down and the public no longer thinks much of it, they can go back to their old ways,” banggit ni Lacson sa panayam ng Radyo Katribu.
“That said, the vicious cycle of corruption is not limited to those in government. It takes two to tango: those who corrupt – and the public who wittingly or otherwise turns a blind eye,” dagdag ng mambabatas.
It is high time to end the vicious cycle involving corruption cases where those involved lie low until the issue dies down – and the public can play a more active role to achieve this, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Friday.
Lacson, who has actively participated in many Senate investigations involving corruption cases, said those involved have become brazen in pocketing public funds by exploiting such a cycle.
“Some officials have lost all sense of shame. Even if charges are filed against them, they just lie low because they know that once the issue dies down and the public no longer thinks much of it, they can go back to their old ways,” he said in an interview on Radyo Katribu.
“That said, the vicious cycle of corruption is not limited to those in government. It takes two to tango: those who corrupt – and the public who wittingly or otherwise turns a blind eye,” he added.
Puwedeng gamitin para ipambili ng kinakailangan na P20 bilyon na karagdagang bakuna ngayong taon ang bilyon-bilyong congressional insertions na minarkahan ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) na for later release (FLR).
Iminungkahi ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson matapos na makausap nitong nakaraang Huwebes ang tatlong czar na nangangasiwa ng mga programa laban sa COVID-19.
“I suggested that the P20 billion can be sourced from the insertions made by lawmakers marked ‘FLR’ because the implementing agencies concerned were not consulted on the insertions and thus could not implement them,” pagbubunyag ni Lacson sa panayam sa kanya ng DWIZ nitong Sabado.
Why not use the humongous congressional insertions tagged by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as “For Later Release” (FLR) to meet the P20-billion requirement for COVID vaccines for this year?
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson raised the possibility following a meeting between him and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and the “three czars” of the government’s COVID response program last Thursday.
“I suggested that the P20 billion can be sourced from the insertions made by lawmakers marked ‘FLR’ because the implementing agencies concerned were not consulted on the insertions and thus could not implement them,” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio Saturday.
In an interview on Politiko, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Possible veto of questionable items in 2021 budget
* Efforts to procure COVID vaccines
* Calls for reimposition of death penalty
* Hope for the New Year
Not even the pandemic and its crippling effects could stop the greed of some lawmakers as they toyed around with the P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson lamented Friday.
Lacson said this after the bicameral report on the budget showed not only manipulations in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget, but also cuts in the budgets of other departments previously approved under the Senate and House versions of the budget bill.
“Congress bicameral committee report: P83.87B of DPWH infra projects migrated to new areas while appropriations worth P55.52B disappeared. As if it wasn’t enough to satisfy their greed, they cut the budgets of other departments by P28.35B. Story of our lives,” he said on his Twitter account.
“These realignments being capricious and arbitrary on the part of the bicameral conference committee members, they did not involve proper planning by the DPWH. This explains why, as I have pointed out in my interpellation last Wednesday, year in and year out, DPWH suffers one of the lowest budget utilization rates with an annual average of P82 billion from 2011 to 2018 and even lower average disbursement rate since 2017,” he added.
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.
“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.
Even the multi-purpose buildings that I had repeatedly questioned in the committee hearings all the way to plenary gained more funds instead of being reduced, in spite of the obvious waste of funds due to the failure of the DPWH to implement them.
For the record, I am not questioning the collegial nature of our plenary deliberations. But I cannot give my vote to a measure as important as the national budget without having read the details of the said bicameral conference report.
All that being said, what happened is now water under the bridge. But it is high time we learn our lessons from this.
Parehong malamya ang paggastos sa kasalukuyang taon pero mas malaki ang dagdag sa pondo ng Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) kumpara sa Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) para sa 2021.
Bukod sa nabanggit na situwasyon, binanggit pa ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, vice chairman ng Senate Committee on Finance na marami ring kuwestiyonable at nasasayang lamang na pondo ang DPWH pero dinagdagan pa ng P28.348 bilyon ng bicameral panel ang badyet nito para sa papasok na taon.
Ang DICT na lubhang nangangailangan ng gastusin para sa national broadband program upang makatipid ang mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan sa bayarin sa serbisyong na mula sa pribadong sektor ay kulang-kulang P1 bilyon lamang ang idinagdag.
One department with a track record of underspending and questionable, wasteful projects may be getting an added P28.348 billion, while another department implementing a much-needed national broadband program is getting a “useless” increase of less than P1 billion in the 2021 budget.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson thus lamented on Wednesday evening the 2021 budgets of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, after they went through the bicameral conference committee.
“As it is, at P666.474 billion as proposed under the National Expenditure Program, and we actually base this on the historical data I mentioned, we can immediately see that P82 billion cannot be used. And here we are further increasing the budget of DPWH by P28 billion… We should learn our lessons from that data,” Lacson said in his interpellation of the bicameral conference committee report of the 2021 budget.
I don’t agree on anything that is not transparent, especially if it concerns the national budget. While the bicameral conference committee may have been reduced to a “Committee of Two,” it is not exactly the case.
In fact, I already instructed my staff to coordinate closely with the Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) on whatever movements of funds before the final version of the bill is presented to the bicam members for our signatures and approval.
Also, I practically demanded that I be furnished with a copy of the details of the Senate version before the convening of the bicameral conference, as what we had until yesterday morning was only the summary of the Senate version.
Having said all that, we already found some realignments that may seem questionable, based on our preliminary examination. For instance, while some of my recommended slash from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget was adopted, we also noticed at least P10 billion worth of infrastructure projects realigned within the same agency under the Senate version.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson renewed his call to fellow lawmakers for transparency, “particularly our amendments in the 2021 budget bill.”
Lacson stressed transparency is crucial to dispel suspicions of “compromises and personal interests in our proposed amendments.”
“If we have nothing to hide, we have to make our amendments public, as I have done in my case, so those amendments can be scrutinized by the media as well as the public. It is the mandate of Congress to make amendments to the budget bill; we cannot just adopt the National Expenditure Program in toto,” he said in an interview on DZRH radio Friday evening.
Isinusulong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang pag-amyenda sa ilang nilalaman ng P4.5 trilyon na gastusin para sa susunod na taon, upang pondohan ang mga programang tutugon sa epekto ng COVID-19.
Ayon kay Lacson, kailangang masigurado ang pondo para sa pagbangon ng mga sektor ng kalusugan at ekonomiya bunga ng pagkalugmok na inabot ng mga ito sa mahabang panahon ng pananalasa sa bansa ng nabanggit na pandemya.
“First things first. We should first address the pandemic and its effects: Health issues, development, recovery of the economy. Those are what we need to address in the 2021 budget,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa panayam sa ABS-CBN News Channel.
“I want the budget to be responsive to the sign of the times. I want it to be responsive to the budget philosophy of Reset, Rebound, Recover. These are what we need for 2021. Not the multi-purpose buildings, not the double appropriations, not the right-of-way payments that cannot be accomplished anyway,” dagdag ng mambabatas.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday bared details of proposed amendments to the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill to make sure it is responsive to the sign of the times.
Lacson said these proposed amendments include augmenting the budgets to ensure health, development and economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, Lacson said he is open to passing a special budget or special law like the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to allow the President to realign funds to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.
“I want the budget to be responsive to the sign of the times. I want it to be responsive to the budget philosophy of Reset, Rebound, Recover. These are what we need for 2021. Not the multi-purpose buildings, not the double appropriations, not the right-of-way payments that cannot be accomplished anyway,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“First things first. We should first address the pandemic and its effects: Health issues, development, recovery of the economy. Those are what we need to address in the 2021 budget,” he added.
In his interpellation of the DPWH’s proposed budget for 2021, Sen. Lacson questioned several issues including whopping appropriations for several districts, double appropriations, overlapping projects, modifications involving poor planning, and right-of-way costs embedded in several infrastructure projects on top of the P11.45-billion appropriations for ROWs. He also reiterated his call to set aside at least for 2021 non-priority projects such as multi-purpose buildings (MPBs), in favor of helping LGUs hit by recent typhoons.
It is relatively easy to pass a law creating new departments. But would it be feasible, and will there be proper funding for it? The Department of Budget and Management says at least P1.5 billion is needed to set up the department. That does not yet include added salaries, capital outlay like office facilities, furniture, vehicles, MOOE, and CIF.
During the first public hearing last January, no less than the stakeholders who served as resource persons also cited concerns about creating a new department for disaster and risk reduction:
First, there is a policy direction for right-sizing the bureaucracy that is already bloated.
Second, the implementation especially of recovery and rehabilitation will be carried out not by the proposed new department but by existing agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Health.
Third, we can see that the newly created departments like the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development cannot be properly funded, or at least are not given the appropriate funding to work properly.
Having said that, a dedicated office under the Office of the President with a Cabinet rank and full authority to mobilize the concerned government agencies before, during and after calamities both natural and man-made – from policy-making and planning all the way to implementation – would do the job with much less funding and minimum number of staff and personnel. In contrast, a council-type organization like the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has a very limited capability mainly because it is merely coordinative.
The DPWH Secretary has full authority to assign personnel under his department, including the district engineers, unless he delegates it to his regional directors or if Malacañang overrides the assignments on very few occasions.
We also know that district representatives almost always use their influence in having their “favorite” district engineers assigned to their districts for a very obvious purpose: to have full control in the implementation of their “pet projects” funded by their insertions in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The question is, can the DPWH Secretary stand up to the pressure exerted on him by the congressmen? As we already know, the answer is obviously no. And no matter how the secretary denies it, nobody is ready to believe him. We also know that it is the root cause of corruption.
Almost anything that has to do with politics in this country breeds corruption. Politics becomes evil when self-aggrandizement and greed come into play – whether it is in aid of reelection or enrichment of an elected official while in power, the result is the same. Worse, these people do not know when to stop once they have started.
We only need to drive around the country to see and experience it everyday, in the form of dilapidated and substandard roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects. Potholes and clogged drainage are commonplace during and after the rains; worn-out infra projects even only after a few years of construction and inaugurations, and many more evidence in plain sight.
In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* P1-M ‘uniform’ appropriations for at least 42 congressional districts in DPWH’s 2021 budget
* need to prioritize vaccines, R&D in 2021 budget
It is timely that the President has raised the corruption issue involving the much-abused budget under the Department of Public Works and Highways, coming as it did at a time when we had just deliberated on the proposed 2021 budget of the department.
During the hearing, I relied on the National Expenditure Program (NEP) and the “mangled” or “mutilated” version of the DPWH’s late submission.
The mangled version alone – which contained a pattern of decreased budgets for national projects and increased budgets for local projects – is highly questionable considering that such submission should have only detailed the lump sums in the NEP that Malacanang submitted to Congress last Aug. 25, but not to amend what was originally submitted, which is the exclusive function of the Congress as part of the budget process, thus – Preparation, Authorization, Execution and Accountability.
It has become an open secret that commissions or kickbacks have become the rule rather than the exception in the implementation of public works projects involving not only some corrupt officials of the department but some legislators as well.
Fact is, contractors openly talk behind the backs of these officials, changing the definition of “mabait” and “maginoo” in the process: officials from the executive and legislative branches who ask for “only” 10 percent are “mabait, maginoong kausap” and those who demand 20 to 30 percent are “matakaw,” while those who demand advance payments and renege on their word as “balasubas” and “mandurugas.”
That being said, if no substantial adjustments are made once the final version of the 2021 GAB is transmitted to the Senate, hopefully next week as promised by the new Speaker, I intend to propose during our plenary debates to cut or realign the excessive and unjustified “NEP amendments” that the DPWH illegally made.
In his interpellation of the proposed 2021 budget of the DPWH, Sen. Lacson noted a “mangling” of the entire appropriations of the agency – totaling P666,474,289,000 – beyond recognition. “Hindi na natin makilala!”
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: * effect of reenacted budget on COVID-19 response in 2021
* connection between DPWH lump sums and delay of budget bill in the House of Representatives
In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* options on further actions regarding anomalies at PhilHealth
* possible use of questionable sums in DPWH budget to address budget shortage for health care in 2021
It is basic that once an infra project has started its implementation, it is already obligated. Hence, there can be no partial cash allocation, unless that project is discontinued, cancelled, or terminated. Then, the unused portion of the appropriation becomes savings that may be realigned. Or, if the project is covered by Multi Year Contractual Authority (MYCA), formerly known as MYOA or Multi Year Obligational Authority which is clearly spelled out and provided in the 2020 GAA, the same item can reappear in the succeeding budget year.
We were not born yesterday as far as budgeting is concerned.
In our continuing efforts to scrutinize the 2021 National Expenditure Program, particularly on the issue of “re-appropriations” and “lump sum appropriations” involving infrastructure projects under the DPWH, we have found that the initial amount of P73.5 billion covering 2,933 items has now ballooned to P135.8 billion involving 5,913 projects – thus effectively increasing the total questionable appropriations to P532.3 billion from the initial P469 billion that we exposed earlier, including lump sums in the amount of P396.4 billion.
Considering the projects under “Operations” in the proposed budget of the DPWH has total appropriations of P613.1 billion, easily 87 percent or P532.3 billion is deemed questionable.
Having said all that, a legal question needs to be addressed as we progress in our plenary budget deliberations: Will this kind of “errata” be allowed by the Senate, or Congress for that matter, if the items to be rectified do not involve simple typographical errors or other similar minor errors like interchanged or misplaced items in the NEP?
Therefore, if my colleagues will not allow such major rectification, we may see a 2021 GAA that is reduced by more than half a trillion pesos.
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
In interviews on DZRH and DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– need for strong political will by PRRD to veto pork
– continued blatant violations of the SC ruling vs pork in 2020 budget
– moves to counter pork and other ‘insertions’
– investigation of issues on the 2019 SEA Games organizers
One reason why I did not attend the signing of the bicam report: Last night after our session, my office received from the House of Representatives through the Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) one USB drive containing two files, the “Source” File and the “List” File.
Our preliminary scrutiny of the last-minute insertions made by the House would indicate that the Source File is the list of 1,253 budget items worth P83.219B that was apparently used as the congressmen’s ‘source’ of their ‘list’ of 742 projects worth P16.345Bthat were inserted in the bicam report that was signed by both panels this morning.
A crowd like this always evokes a strong feeling of sentimentality. Like most of you in this hall, I am certainly at the point in my life where I often turn my gaze back over the past and see if those years have really mattered — not only for myself, but for the people who have entrusted me a seat in public office, and for my country that has given me so much in my present life.
Sen. Lacson proposed institutional amendments to the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020. These include added funding for landmark programs of the administration, such as the PhilSys (National ID) program, the Universal Health Program, and free tuition. He also sought to deduct funding from programs of agencies such as the DPWH and DoTr due to their underutilization of funds, and realign them to more worthwhile projects.
In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: – House leaders’ claims that Senate to blame for early hosting woes for SEA Games – pork in the 2020 budget
– reported proposal to vote for President and VP in tandem
– advice to VP Robredo after her removal as ICAD co-chair
Isinulong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson na madagdagan ang pondo para sa implementasyon ng National ID, Universal Health Care at Quality Tertiary Education sa 2020, sa pamamagitan ng realignment sa ilang malalabong gastusin sa 2020 budget.
“The National ID system needs at least P5.565 billion in 2020 to cover the registration of some 14 million Filipinos and resident aliens. But the proposed 2020 budget presently allocates only P2.4 billion under the unprogrammed fund for it. This amount covers only 6.3 million Filipinos,” pagsisiwalat ng senador.
Several funded items in the P4.1-trillion proposed national budget for 2020 can be realigned to more worthwhile programs to fund three landmark laws passed under the present administration: the PhilSys Act (National ID) program, Universal Health Care Act, and the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said.
“There are many items in the 2020 budget that can be realigned for the National ID. One of them is the National Greening Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” he said in an interview on DZMM Wednesday.