‘Flooded Matnog got zero budget for floods’

THE serious property and infrastructure damage—not to mention loss of lives —wrought by Tropical Depression Usman in the Bicol region has given House of Representatives leaders new ammunition in their inquiry into questioned flood-control funding in the 2019 budget.

“At least 19 villages in Matnog, Sorsogon, are now submerged in flood water. Yet, despite its vulnerability to flood, Matnog did not get a single centavo in the billions of pesos allocated by the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] for flood-control projects in Sorsogon under the 2019 National Expenditure Program,” said Majority Leader Rolando G. Andaya Jr. at the weekend.

“Worse, a huge slice of the budget allocated by the DBM for Sorsogon flood-control projects in 2019—a total of P325 million—will go to Casiguran town where an in-law of Sec. Diokno is seeking reelection as mayor,” Andaya pointed out, as authorities tallied the death toll and damage from Usman.

Andaya said this matter will be part of the questions raised at the inquiry to be conducted by the House Rules committee in Naga City on January 3, where the House has summoned DBM officials.

Malinaw na may problema ang DBM sa budget allocation nila [The DBM clearly has a problem with the way they allocate budgets]. For 2019, zero budget for flood control in Matnog. But a whooping P325 million allocated for Casiguran, which has no threat of flooding now or in the next 25 years,” Andaya, who is from flood-ravaged Camarines Sur, pointed out.

“What is really the basis of allocating public funds for flood-control projects? Is it really climate change or affinity to the DBM Secretary?” Andaya asked aloud, in a mix of English and Filipino.

“Note this: just one town, that hasn’t even been flooded, gets an a share of 0.3 percent of the P114.4-billion total national budget allocated by the DBM for flood-control projects next year. Wow!” Andaya stressed.



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