The Majority and the Minority must be united in supporting a realistic budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways in order to make a truism of the oft-repeated invocation that infrastructure is the engine of growth and help pursue the government’s “BBB” agenda.
We must restore the cuts in the DPWH submittal made by DBM. We must not only restore the excised allocations but must augment the DPWH’s budget once found to be justified and imperative.
One of the major casualties of the budgetary calisthenics now known as “cash-based budgeting” is the DPWH with a slash amounting to P 93.343-B broken down as follows: Php 90.182-B – Capital Outlay and Php 3.781-B – Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses. The reduction includes a drastic slash on locally funded projects. After the DBM assured the Committee on Appropriations that the absorptive capacity of agencies has vastly improved, including DPWH, in the first six months of 2018 and DBM has approved the employment of more DPWH personnel, there is no justification for the inordinate reduction of the DPWH budget just because the “cash-based budgeting” is prematurely being imposed by DBM.
We appreciate the announcement of the new leadership of the House that no district shall be punished with a zero infrastructure allocation. But how can this be completely pursued if the budget of DPWH is not adequate even as the lost infrastructure projects this year because of the zero allocations cannot be offset by additional funding next year if the proposed budget of the DPWH is frozen at its present decimated level.
Even as we treat the budget of DPWH with reasonable liberality, we must call on the Department to: cleanse its officialdom and ranks of errant officials and employees; blacklist contractors who are delinquent; and assure that every peso allocated to it is implemented with prudence and integrity.
Mr. Chairman, I reiterate my call that the Majority and the Minority should mend its differences for the time being in order to forge a collective decision to support the budget of DPWH, restore what had been cut and augment its budget when justified.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN