Budget 'anomaly'

December 16, 2018
Rolando Andaya Jr.

HOUSE Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. bared yesterday that a former Cabinet official who is seeking an elective post has allegedly “parked” at least P300 million in infrastructure projects in the national budget.

Without naming names, Andaya, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, said a mayor from Region 5 approached him over the weekend and intimated that a former Cabinet official was responsible for the “parking” of funds.

Andaya said the mayor, who requested not to be named in the meantime, disclosed that the Cabinet member parked the allocation in flood-mitigation projects for the region.

“Anytime ire-release na raw ang pondo. Nag-site visitation na,” said Andaya.

According to the mayor, Andaya said, more local government executives want to seek an audience with me to shed light on the so-called “parking scam” in the budget allocations in the region.

“Lumapit sa akin ang mayor dahil ngayon lang daw nila naiintindihan ang mga nangyayari. Pumayag sila sa parking scheme dahil para rin naman daw sa benepisyo ng mga constituents ang mga proyekto. Nililinaw lang nila na hindi daw sila kumita sa mga proyektong ito,” said Andaya.

The House rules committee will begin its investigation into the budget anomalies and anomalous allocations in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) on January 3, 2019.

“We will include these allegations in our investigation,” Andaya stressed.  Andaya said the parking scheme, allegedly facilitated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) led by Secretary Benjamin Diokno, may eventually explain the huge spike allocated to flood mitigation projects from 2017 to 2018.

From P79 billion in 2017, Andaya said the budget for flood mitigation projects ballooned to a whopping P133 billion.

“Ibig sabihin, P54 billion ang nadagdag sa mga pondong ito,” said Andaya.

“Ayon sa isang report, sa Region 5 pa lang, halos P2.2 billion ang nadagdag sa national projects na flood-related mula 2017 hanggang 2018. Malalaman natin sa imbestigasyon ng House rules committee kung magkano dito ang napunta sa CT Leoncio Construction and Trading at sa Aremar Construction. Mukhang ito kasi ang paboritong mga kontraktor ng DBM,” said Andaya.

“At ang paglobo, tuloy sa sunod na taon. Out of the proposed P544.5-billion budget of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) for 2019, P114.4 billion is for flood control projects. Almost 24 percent. Marami sa flood control projects hindi kasama sa P488 billion na original proposed budget ng DPWH. Idinagdag ito sa level ng DBM na. Kaya lumalabas na P544 billion ang proposed budget ng DPWH for 2019.  And this augmentation was admitted during the Question Hour.  Ang idinagdag ba, para sa flagship Build, Build, Build projects? Hindi. Mukhang marami sa flood control, na hindi alam ng DPWH central office. Clueless sila,” said Andaya.

“Ang bulto  ba ng  pondo ay para doon sa flood prone areas ng Metro Manila at Metro Cebu? Hindi. Ikinalat sa maliliit na bayan. How many of these projects are backed up officially by DPWH? Ilan ang recommended as priority projects ng RDCs?  At ilan ang recommended by engineers outside the DPWH?” Andaya asked.

“Tanungin mo mga congressmen kung alam nila ang mga flood control projects sa mismong distrito nila. Maraming aamin na clueless sila. At sasabihin nila na sana inilagay na lang sa kalsada, hospital, eskwelahan,” Andaya added.