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Villar assures ‘no pork’ in DPWH’s P534.29 billion proposed allocation for 2020

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has assured the public that agency’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 is “pork-free.”

During the 2020 budget briefing of the DPWH, Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar gave the assurance while replying to a query raised by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano if the DPWH budget proposal contains pork barrel allotments.

Villar said there is no pork barrel in their 2020 proposed budget as the executive department will not tolerate any pork barrel inclusion in the agency’s budget.

“Everything has gone through a vigorous process of vetting and, rest assured Mr. Speaker, that there is none,” said Villar, adding this is the reason on their shift to line item budgeting.

When asked if there is any senator or congressman who “parked” the DPWH’s budget, Villar said there is no such practice in their budget and guaranteed it will not occur.

Cayetano earlier said he will not tolerate the so-called parking funds in the proposed 2020 national budget.

In the last Congress, lawmakers reportedly parked at least P300 million in infrastructure projects in the 2019 national budget. Parking of budget is reportedly the new scheme by some lawmakers allegedly to earn commissions in the annual appropriations.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the lower chamber is committed to pass a constitutionally compliant national budget for year 2020.

Likewise, Romualdez said line item budgeting system will be strictly observed to ensure transparency and accountability in the disbursement of public funds.

Villar also said the agency has implemented already a software system for the whole DPWH to monitor projects through the system application called the Contract Management Procedures and Application System.

“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,” said Villar.

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Appropriations scrutinized the 2020 budget proposal of the DPWH in the amount of P534.29 billion which is 17 percent higher than its budget of P454.79 billion for this year.

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).

For his part, Cayetano said the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration will continue to address the lack of infrastructure projects in the country.

In his budget message, President Duterte said a total of P972 billion will be allocated for the government’s infrastructure program for 2020, equivalent to 4.6 percent of GDP, and higher than the P816.2 billion in 2019.

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