SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” Lacson yesterday said members of the House of Representatives are sure to protest the removal of the P75-billion fund inserted into the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) proposed budget.
“Magkakagulo sila sa HOR (House of Representatives) pag nawala yun. That’s what the new leadership chopped and re-distributed among their allies since they suspected that the previous leadership was responsible for the additional P75 billion ‘insertion’ in the NEP,” Lacson said yesterday a day after he proposed the deletion of the P75 billion, which was added to the agency’s budget even without its knowledge.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar admitted that he was not aware of the additional budget until he saw it in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).
Though the cut in the fund has not yet been approved by the Senate, Lacson said that they have not decided yet either where they would put the money as its final “resting place”.
The senator however said the money could be put to good use.
“We will make sure that the monies will be put into good use, just like the P8 billion that I deleted from the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) in 2017 which we decided to realign for free tuition even at a time that the law on universal access to quality tertiary education was not yet passed,” he added.
Lacson said that the deletion of the insertion will be a huge challenge to Senate Finance Committee Chairperson Loren Legarda when they go into the bicameral conference committee meeting.
But Senator Ralph Recto warned that the Senate should be very careful with the deletion of the fund that may be allocated to good projects and programs of the government.