Negros Or. solon questions Cayetano, allies on 2021 budget shares

Published October 5, 2020, 5:32 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Prove that the P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021 is the budget of the Filipino people, and not the budget of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies.

This was the challenge posed by Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves, a reported ally of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Cayetano’s rival for the House leadership. 

“I listened to [Marinduque Rep.] Lord’s statement, ang tanong nya, is this the budget of the President, or this is the budget of the allies of the current leadership in the House, dapat sagutin nila ‘yun (They should answer that),” he told reporters in an online press conference. 

Velasco, in a Facebook video, accused Friday night Cayetano of holding the 2021 national budget hostage, even as he questioned him and his allies’ motives regarding the 2021national budget.

Teves claimed that the public works allocation of Taguig-Pateros “is too big” considering that Taguig-Pateros is just six percent of the National Capital Region (NCR).

“How big is Taguig-Pateros compared to the whole of NCR? As far as I know, Taguig-Pateros is 6 percent of NCR. How much percentage of the budget allocation for NCR is going or went to Taguig, is it more than 6 percent or is less than 6 percent?,” he asked.

Citing the 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP), he said the two Taguig-Pateros congressional districts will be getting P11.11 billion under the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), both from the central office of NCR and district engineering office (DEO) for next year. 

“Akala ko ba may Balk Probinsya Program, ano ang dapat gawin? Saan tayo dapat magayos sa NCR o sa probinsya?,” Teves asked

(I thought we have Balik Probinsya Program, what should be done? Where should we allocate more funds in NCR or in the province?)

“Kung lahat ng gastos ay sa NCR pa rin eh di saksak natin ang lahat ng tao sa NCR. Bakit  natin papabalikin sa probinsya kung wala naman silang mapapala? They say they are supporting the President, I doubt it. If they are supporting the President , dapat ang budget  ilagay sa mga probinsya,” he added. 

(If all expenditures will be in the NCR, let’s all squeeze in all the people to stay in the NCR. Why do we have to let those people return to their respective provinces if they will not get anything from it.They say they are supporting the President, I doubt it. If they are supporting the President, the budget should be given to the provinces.)

Teves said Taguig-Pateros gets P7.92 billion or 38 percent of the total P25 billion in public works budget for the DPWH-NCR for 2021.

“On top of this, its two congressional districts will receive an additional P3.2 billion under the DEO budget,” he said.

He noted that under this year’s national budget,  Taguig-Pateros bagged infrastructure projects worth P10.03 billion, P7.12 billion of which from DPWH-NCR and P2.195 from DEO. 

During the House Committee on Appropriations’ deliberations on the 2021 proposed P666.47 billion budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) last month, Teves laments that despite the fact that his district ranked number 8 in terms of absorptive capacity in the whole country, it was only allocated less than P2 billion, while other districts were purportedly given more than P8 billion and up to P11 billion.

He pressed on DPWH Secretary Mark Villar to confirm “rumors” that Taguig City is getting more than P8 billion and Camarines Sur is getting P11.8 billion.