DPWH budget pork-free, House told

THE proposed budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is pork-free.

This was the assurance DPWH Secretary Mark Villar gave the House of Representatives led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano during the budget deliberation.

The proposed budget for DPWH is P534.29 billion, which is 17 percent higher than its budget of P454.79 billion for this year.

The allocation for DPWH is the second highest budget, next to the Department of Education (DepEd).

Responding to Cayetano’s query, Villar said there is no pork barrel in their 2020 proposed budget.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte will not tolerate any pork barrel inclusion in the agency’s budget, the reason why they shifted to line item budgeting.

“Everything has gone through a vigorous process of vetting and rest assured Mr. Speaker, that there is none,” Villar said.

Speaker Cayetano also asked if there is any senator or congressman who “parked” an allocation in the DPWH’s budget.

Villar said there is no such practice in their budget and guaranteed it will not occur. Per instruction of the President, Villar said they created a lot of reforms to reduce corruption.

“In fact, we have implemented already a software system for the whole DPWH and this is the first of its kind. We monitor projects through the system application called the CMPA (Contract Management Procedures and Application System) that helps us,” he added.

“One of the accomplishments of this system is that we blacklisted almost around 18 contractors. This has been the highest (that) it has ever been implemented in the department. At the same time, we track all projects via geotagging. In other words, the progress of every project will be confirmed by a satellite confirmatory photography,” the younger Villar said.

Villar said that DPWH has endeavored to ensure that progress is evenly distributed. He said it was balanced based on needs and that most of the big ticket projects are in the provincial areas.

During the hearing, Villar presented the DPWH strategic infrastructure programs and policies to be supported by its 2020 budget, based on the agency’s National Expenditure Program (NEP).

Speaker Cayetano said the “Build, Build, Build” Program of the Duterte Administration will continue to address the lack of infrastructure projects in the country.