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DPWH, not House revamp, blamed for realigned budget

THE Department of Public Works Highways (DPWH) was responsible for redistributing infrastructure spending items in the proposed 2021 national budget, a senior legislator said, rejecting claims that budget cuts targeted Representatives associated with the former House leadership.

“It was the DPWH that made the realignments and we just adopted the amendments given to us by the department,” ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric G. Yap told ABS-CBN News Channel, after a senator claimed that allies of House Speaker Lord Allan Q. Velasco received increased budgets.

While there were “noticeable” increases in the budgets of congressmen allied with the current House leader, allocations for infrastructure projects in districts represented by those allied with ousted Speaker and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter S. Cayetano were “slashed,” Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr., a former deputy Speaker, said P368 million was slashed from his district’s budget.

Mr. Yap, however, said the budget cuts cited by Mr. Villafuerte were not intended for the projects specifically for the second district of Camarines Sur. “The P386-million cut was for Build, Build, Build, projects,” he said.

The funds were reallocated by the DPWH to other projects that “can be finished by 2021,” he added.

Mr. Yap said other realignments were made in response to the needs of some areas hit by the November typhoons.

He said Mr. Velasco “did not meddle” in budget amendments.

“I think Speaker Velasco recognized my independence, that I’m not clinging to the left or clinging to the right. I just do my job.”

The bicameral conference committee on the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for next year convenes this week.

“I can assure you that this is free of pork barrel. All I can see are projects that will benefit the Filipino people,” he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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