Senate to dissect P666-B budget of DPWH for 2021

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said the Senate would have its hands full in dissecting the pork barrel-laden P666-billion budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for next year when it is presented for deliberation on the Senate floor.

Drilon and Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, a staunch anti-pork barrel advocate, had vowed to check the DPWH budget with a fine-toothed comb because it is ‘’unique.’’

Unique in the sense that it is full of lump sum appropriations, Drilon said.

He pointed out that 70 percent of the appropriations are placed at the DPWH Central Office while only 30 percent are parked at the various engineering districts of the department.

Lacson noted that local or community projects were given big appropriations but national road and bridge projects got small appropriations.

The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading Friday the proposed 2021 P4.5-trillion national budget.
Both senators are wary at reports that the House would submit to the Senate the 1,200 page 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on Oct. 28 although the normal printing process would only take four to five days.

Other senators also suspect that it is within the coming week that insertions of pork barrel appropriations might take place.

Drilon, a former Senate President and former Justice Secretary, stressed that it is unconstitutional to make insertions in the GAB once it has been approved on third and final reading.

‘’Ngayon nagkabuhul-buhol na, approval on third reading on paper, dahilan sa may small committee silang ginawa na tatanggap ng mga insertions o amendments,’’ he said after reading media reports of possible insertions.

(Now, it is a mess, it was approved on third and final reading on paper. All because they created small committees that will accept insertions or amendments)