Department of Public Works and Highways: Sorsogon not favored province

Rolando Andaya Jr.

SORSOGON did not get the lion’s share of infrastructure allocations from the Department of Public Works and Highways in the Bicol Region.

This is according to a document sent by the DPWH to the Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., who is spearheading a congressional hearing on the alleged budget insertions and cash-based budgeting system of the Department of Budget and Management.

During the hearing, Andaya claimed that Sorsogon is a favored province because it gets most of the infrastructure funds particularly for flood control projects.

Contrary to Andaya’s claim, however, an official document from DPWH showed that it was Albay that has the highest allocation, amounting to P11.2 billion while Sorsogon is only second with P10.5 billion.

Andaya’s home province Camarines Sur got P10.2 billion; Masbate P4.5 billion; Camarines Norte P3.3 billion and Catanduanes P2.5 billion.

Documents also showed that other areas got bigger infrastructure funding than Casiguran, indicating that the municipality was not given any special treatment.

Earlier, Andaya  questioned the P325.11 million allocation for flood management programs in Casiguran alone as well as the P10 billion infrastructure funding for Sorsogon.

Andaya claimed the municipality cornered the funding through the clout of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor and Vice Governor Ester Hamor are the parents-in-law of Diokno’s daughter.

The amount in question for Casiguran actually covers five projects, namely the construction and rehabilitation of the Himaoyan flood control (P75 million), the Lungib seawall and embankment (P80.11 million), the Somal-ot seawall and embankment (P100 million), the Cagpagol river control (P45 million), and the Suji river control (P25 million).

In Andaya’s own hometown, the 1st district of Camarines Sur, P771.82 million was allocated for road widening projects for five primary roads and one tertiary road.

In the second district of Camarines Sur, for flood management projects similar to those in Casiguran, the area was allocated P858 million for the construction and rehabilitation of various flood mitigation structures.

Albay’s second district likewise had a funding allocation of P768 million while its special support program that covers projects aimed at promoting tourism destinations and economic zones got P665.48 million.

Road widening projects in Masbate’s third district, on the other hand, was allocated P481.7 million while flood management projects in Camarines Norte’s second district received P488.65 million.