January 1, 2022 - For 2022 and beyond, development projects being advocated by lawmakers should undergo at least proper planning and consultation with the proper local authorities as well as implementing agencies.
Sen. Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson aired this hope as he said the country cannot afford to continue wasting hundreds of billions of pesos in unutilized funds in the budget due to "pork"-related corruption.
"Kailangan dumaan sa masusing pagpaplano. Maski mag-'insert' ka basta may consultation (Projects should go through thorough planning and consultation. Even if a project is 'inserted' into the National Expenditure Program, there is nothing wrong so long as it underwent the proper consultations)," said Lacson, who has flagged billions of pesos in questionable projects in his yearly scrutiny of the national budget.
In an interview on TeleRadyo last Dec. 29, Lacson lamented that an average of P300 billion a year in the budget from 2011 to 2020 went unused because the projects "inserted" by some lawmakers did not undergo proper planning or consultation.
He said that while lawmakers have the right to amend the National Expenditure Program - the version submitted by Malacanang to Congress - by inserting their projects, there should be no "commissions" involved.
"Karapatan ng mambabatas mag-amend sa NEP. Ang masama kung kumuha ng 20-40% depende sa katakawan. Yan ang mahirap sikmurahin (It's the right of lawmakers to propose amendments to the NEP. What is bad is that some use their earmarks to get commissions or up to 40 percent. That is the part that is unacceptable)," he said.
"Kaya may P300 bilyon per year, from 2011 to 2020, na unused appropriations. Ini-insert kasi sa Congress. Paano i-implement ng ahensya yun, ng DPWH (That's why from 2011 to 2020, an average of P300 billion a year in the budget went unused - all because of the insertions by some lawmakers. How can agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways implement the projects if they were not consulted)?" he added.
Lacson said this is all made worse by the fact that Filipinos are still mired in poverty.
"Ang kasuklam-suklam, pag may commission ang proyekto. Naghihirap ang Pilipinas, pagkatapos napupunta sa bulsa ng ilang tiwali at matatakaw sa pera (This practice of commissions is abhorrent. Filipinos are mired in poverty, yet billions of pesos that should go to development projects end up in the pockets of some," he said.