Flood control funds misplaced — Andaya

January 03, 2019
Benjamin Diokno

NAGA City -- Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has allocated a total of P332 billion for flood control projects from 2017 to 2019 and even placed funds in areas that are not at high risk for flooding, a House leader charged yesterday.

During yesterday’s hearing of the House Committee on Rules, House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya accused Diokno of acting alone and allocating huge flood control funds in Casiguran, Sorsogon where his in-laws are politicians and owned Aremar Construction.

Casiguran Mayor Edward Hamor, the biggest shareholder of Aremar Construction, is the husband of Sorsogon Vice Gov. Ester Hamor, the mother of Diokno’s son-in-law, Romeo Sicat Jr. who is married to the budget secretary’s daughter, Charlotte Justine.

Andaya lamented that Matnog, Sorsogon whose at least 19 villages are now submerged in flood water due to the rains triggered by Tropical Depression Usman did not receive a single centavo allocation under this year’s proposed P3.757-trillion national budget that has yet to be approved by Congress.

“Espesyal talaga ang Casiguran at Sorsogon kay Sec. Diokno! Wala naman sanang problema kahit bahain ng pondo ang ilang lugar sa Bicol. Pabor sa aming mga Bicolano iyon. Ang problema, hindi napupunta ang pondo sa kailangan talagang paglagyan,” Andaya told the panel’s hearing at the Avenue Plaza Hotel in Magsaysay Avenue here on corruption allegations against Diokno’s questionable practices involving the national budget.

“Take Matnog, for instance. Last week lang, lumubog sa baha ang 19 na barangay sa Matnog dahil sa Bagyong Usman. Yet, despite its  vulnerability to flood, Matnog did not get a single centavo in the billions of pesos allocated by the DBM for flood control projects in Sorsogon under the 2019 National Expenditure Program,” Andaya stressed.

“Malinaw na may problema ang DBM sa budget allocation nila. For 2019, zero budget for flood control in Matnog. But a whopping P385 million allocated for Casiguran, which has no threat of flooding now or in the next 25 years,” Andaya said citing a study.