Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel III has flagged the P544 billion lump-sum appropriations lodged under the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH)’s proposed budget for 2023.

“This is no small amount. The P544 billion lump-sum funds is equivalent to 75 percent of the total appropriation of the DPWH for next year,” Pimentel said.

DPWH is allocated P718.4 billion under the proposed P5.268 trillion National Expenditures Program (NEP).

“In the spirit of transparency, I call on the DPWH to provide the details of this huge allocation, down to the last centavo, so the Senate and the public will be able to scrutinize it,” the veteran legislator added.

“Every peso in the budget should be disaggregated.”

“Every peso in the budget should be disaggregated. Lumang tugtugin na ang pagtatago ng bilyun-bilyong lump-sum. Let’s shun this practice,” the seasoned lawmaker said. “Lump-sum amounts are prone to abuse and discretion.”

“For Congress to allow lump-sum appropriation in the budget is tantamount to giving the executive a blanket authority to spend, in the case of DPWH, P544 billion at its own discretion,” the senator stressed.

The lump-sum funds are mostly lodged under the agency’s central office, he noted.

Pimentel said that of the P544 billion lump-sum appropriation, P213.95 billion are for convergence and special support programs, which includes P104.82 billion for SIPAG or Sustainable Infrastructure Projects Alleviating Gap and P52.45 billion for BIP or Basic Infrastructure Program.

He emphasized that both programs – SIPAG and BIP – seem to serve duplicative functions and have purposes beyond the implementation of a national infrastructure program.

Of the P544 billion, P10.89 billion will go for widening of primary roads, P11.46 billion for secondary roads, and P6.52 billion for tertiary roads.

Pimentel also said the lump-sum funds include P86.18 billion for asset preservation program or road rehabilitation, reconstruction and upgrading. Of which, P9.19 billion will go for preventive maintenance of primary roads, P12.44 billion for secondary roads, and P9.51 billion for maintenance of tertiary roads.

He also cited around P113.09 billion for network development program; P21.09 billion for bridge program; and P109 billion for flood management program.

“Saang distrito at barangay mapupunta itong bilyun-bilyong alokasyon?” Pimentel asked.

Aside from violating the principle of transparency, he expressed alarm that such lump-sum funds can be a source of pork barrel funds, which the Supreme Court had declared as unconstitutional in 2014.

“What I fear the most is it could be a rich source of pork barrel funds.”

“What I fear the most is it could be a rich source of pork barrel funds. That is why DPWH should disaggregate them and publicize the details immediately,” Pimentel stressed.



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