Budget ok assured

January 13, 2019
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Speaker Arroyo reaffirms commitment to pass 2019 national budget when Congress resumes session.

SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has reaffirmed its commitment to pass the proposed 2019 P3.757-trillion national budget when Congress resumes session today.

Arroyo said her leadership has been consulting the senators and would just wait for the Senate to approve the national budget which is now pending in plenary.

“We do (talking with senators), but we just let them do their own timetable. We cannot nag them. We cannot nag them on (passing) any of our measures,” said Arroyo on the controversial national budget following the P75-billion alleged insertions of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu echoed Mrs. Arroyo’s commitment to pass the national budget to ensure the implementation of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s priority programs.

“The house leadership is very keen on passing the 2019 annual budget when Congress resumes its session on Monday as there are lots of government programs and projects that are being tied or delayed due to the non-approval of the new budget,” said Abu.

At the same time, Arroyo also vowed to focus on the oversight function of the House of Representatives by checking the performances of different government agencies in the implementation of laws and President Duterte’s priority programs.

“We already finished the legislative agenda that President Duterte asked for in his SONA (State of the Nation Address last July 23). So now we will spend more time on oversight, because there are laws and the laws are good. Now they have to be implemented…oversight will be a lot of the work,” said Arroyo.

Abu asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to assess road right of ways’ (RROWs) problems concerning various road projects of the government.

“We are also calling the attention of the DPWH to immediately respond to the queries and act double time to settle all issues surrounding the RROWs acquisition,” said Abu.

The lawmaker further said that the success of the project is relying mainly on the two components – the passage of the national budget and the road right of way acquisition.

In Batangas alone, Abu said the delay in the approval of the new budget greatly affects the ongoing P1.104-billion Batangas City–Bauan Bypass Road that is envisioned to declog the worsening traffic situation in the Batangas City- San Pascual-Bauan- Mabini portion of the Batangas City-Palico Highway.

He said the project will accelerate the transport cost of both services and products of the industries along the Batangas Bay, which include international ports, oil refinery and depots, power plants -- all of which provide the requirements of Luzon.

Abu said the Batangas City-San Pascual-Bauan Bypass Road is a multi-year funded project that started in 2017.

The project is implemented by the Regional Office No. 4-A and Batangas II District Engineering Office and includes national road in Barangay Balagtas, Batangas City and passes through various barangays in Batangas City, San Pascual, and Bauan of agricultural land of rolling terrain and goes to the northwestern direction traversing mostly rolling terrain down towards flat agricultural areas and will finally connect to the existing national road of Mabini-Bauan Road at Barangay San Roque in Bauan town.

The project is divided into two major segments – the Balagtas-Banaba portion in Batangas City under the Batangas’ 2nd Engineering District and the Banaba-Manghinao Portion that is being implemented by DPWH-Regional Office IV-A – and has a span of 30-meters width and a full length of 10.833-kilometers and includes four bridges.

In the year 2017, a total of P199 million was appropriated including the P120 million apportioned for acquisition of road right of way.

In the 2018 budget, some P633,190,000 was appropriated including the cost of two bridges.

“Here comes the immediate need to pass the budget as the P210 million proposed appropriation for the next two bridges is included in this 2019 GAA,” the lawmaker said.

As of this writing, Abu said that in about a 15-month period since the project commenced in November 2017, about 52% of the total package is now complete.