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Typhoon rehab fund boost eyed

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson has vowed to realign P20 billion of the P68 billion funds under the 2021 national budget that were allocated to some alleged questionable lawmakers’ projects to support the rehabilitation programs of local government units (LGUs) affected by Typhoon Ulysses.

Lacson said realigning at least P20 billion will help augment the rehabilitation and recovery of LGUs whose infrastructure and source of livelihood were damaged heavily by recent storms.

“Since the NEP was prepared before the onslaught of Typhoons Rolly, Quinta, and Ulysses, wouldn’t it be wise and practical to make adjustments by augmenting the ALGU-LGSF appropriations especially for those areas hardest hit by the calamities mentioned?” Lacson said.

During the Senate deliberation on the 2021 national budget on Monday, he pointed out that the fund can be sourced out from the P68 billion allocations for local multi-purpose buildings which, according to him, are allegedly duplication of programs.

“[Those] are merely duplications of programs, if we augment the appropriations for local government units, especially those hit by the typhoons, then they could very well rehabilitate and recover,” he added.

He is likewise pushing for the realignment of the other portion of P68 billion for the national broadband program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Earlier, 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 amounts of infrastructure funds.

He alleged 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.

It was under Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s leadership that 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 2021 national budget

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.