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Big infra funds disparity scored

AS Congress resumes session this Monday, lawmakers are expected to resolve the final version of the P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 where Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson flagged the disparity in the proposed infrastructure allocations among congressional districts.

Lacson charged that billions of pesos are being poured in selected districts like Davao City, Benguet, Albay and Abra while other districts will receive smaller infrastructure funds.

He said that there was a huge difference in the distribution of the national budget in certain districts while other districts have to fend for themselves with less.

Lacson cited an urban district in Davao that has an infrastructure budget of around P15.351 billion while Albay has P7.5 billion, P7.9 billion in Benguet and P3.75 billion in Abra.

“This is just to point out the disparity in the distribution of the budget. Yun ang honor roll. Horror roll… I just want to point that out, bakit ganun ang disparity? What’s in those districts that would merit those appropriations?” Lacson stated.

“The absorptive capacity. Kasi kung sa isang district ‘yan babagsak, I cannot see how that particular engineering district could implement P15.351 billion of infrastructure projects,” Lacson emphasized.

Even Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto expressed alarm on Lacson’s remarks, saying it was new to him.

“Usually kasi sa pinagdaanan kong mga budgets, ‘yung mga districts, ‘di masyadong nagkakalayo ang amounts ng funding nila, especially sa DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways). Bago sa akin ito na mayroong ilang district na saksakan ng lalaki ang amount,” Sotto said.

In the recent speakership row, the same issue was raised against former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig-Pateros by allies of now Speaker Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque led by Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves about the alleged unfair infrastructure allocation of funds.

They accused Cayetano of favoring certain lawmakers.

It was under Velasco’s leadership when the 2021 national budget was approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading. Velasco has yet to respond to Lacson’s allegation regarding the alleged unfair distribution of infrastructure funds in the 2021national budget.#