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!”
Desidido si Senador Panfilo Lacson na itulak ang pagkakaloob ng malaking pondo sa pambansang gastusin sa susunod na taon ang national broadband program at libreng Wi-Fi.
Nakikita kasi ng mambabatas na ang mga programang nabanggit ang magiging pundasyon para tumibay ang ekonomiya ng bansa.
“This is the backbone of our economy. In this day and age of modern information technology, we have no reason not to catch up or to be at par with neighboring countries, considering that potential investors’ first concern would be internet speed,” banggit ni Lacson sa pagdinig ng Senado sa panukalang badyet ng Department of Information and Communications Technology at National Telecommunications Commission.
Ayon kay Lacson, ang maasahang ICT system ay nangangahulugan ng mas maraming oportunidad para sa mga Pinoy na maipakita ang kagalingan at abilidad.
“I am a believer in ICT because there is so much we can do if our ICT is efficient,” dagdag pa ng mambabatas.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Tuesday threw his full support behind the government’s plan to provide free Wi-Fi especially in far-flung areas, and to set up a national broadband program.
Lacson said he will push for a bigger budget for the two programs, as he noted these will serve as the backbone of the country’s economy.
“This is the backbone of our economy. In this day and age of modern information technology, we have no reason not to catch up or to be at par with neighboring countries, considering that potential investors’ first concern would be internet speed,” Lacson said at the budget hearing for the Department of Information and Communications Technology and National Telecommunications Commission.
“I am a believer in ICT because there is so much we can do if our ICT is efficient,” he added.
With the policy statement issued by Speaker Arroyo concerning all the congressmen’s earmarks for their respective districts, expect a massive mangling of the National Expenditure Program (NEP).
If not checked, we will be back to the happy ‘pork barrel’ days of legislators in spite of the Supreme Court ruling outlawing the same.
Worse, all the planning involved in the preparation of the national budget will be rendered inutile to the detriment of the medium development plan of the national government, as well as the local development plans submitted by the local government units (LGUs).
I hope some like-minded colleagues in the Senate will also work overtime, as I am determined to do, in scrutinizing the House version of the appropriations bill to expose and slice whatever “pork” there is in whatever form and no matter how deeply hidden, with the end in view of preventing the return of this malevolent practice now declared unconstitutional with finality by the Supreme Court.