Solons’ pet projects inserted in 2020 budget to be reviewed first before funding, says DBM
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will first review legislators’ alleged realignments in the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget before it releases funds, but only for projects ready for rollout.
In a statement, the DBM said budget provisions that were introduced by legislators but were not part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposals “will be subjected to compliance with documentation requirements” and approval by Duterte before the release of funds.
This was the DBM’s response to Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s claimlast Wednesday (Feb. 19) that the executive had withheld the release of at least P80 billion in funds earlier realigned by some legislators to “pet projects” in their congressional districts.
According to Lacson, the DBM, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Office of the President had found that these realignments had been taken away from the list of flagship infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.
Citing Duterte’s message on the 2020 spending law, the DBM said insertions made by legislators “shall be subject to the national government’s cash programming.”
These would also be treated in accordance with “prudent observance of responsible fiscal management.” These pet projects, the DBM said, would need approval by Duterte before funds are released.
These pet projects would first have to be evaluated based on need and readiness for implementation, the DBM said.
The DBM added funds for projects subject for review would be tagged “for release later” under a budget circular released last Jan. 6 governing release of funds.
Funds for projects marked FLR (for release later) “shall be subject to compliance with specific conditions” like documents and approval from “appropriate authorities”.
Only then would general allotment release orders (Garo) or special allotment release orders (Saro) would be issued, said the DBM.
DBM data showed that P2.1 trillion, or 51.8 percent of the 2020 budget, had already been released last January.
Edited by TSB
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