MANILA, Philippines—The Senate finance subcommittee on Wednesday (September 22) questioned the P100 billion-worth of unimplemented projects.
During Wednesday’s virtual hearing of the panel, Senator Nancy Binay questioned the P100 billion worth of unimplemented projects due to the absence of clearance from the Office of the President (OP).
According to Binay, only about 30% of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ projects for 2021 have so far been implemented because there was no clearance from the OP.
“Nakakagulat kasi nga mag-o-October na in a few days and then may maririnig tayo na P100 billion worth of projects na alam natin can generate a lot of jobs na kailangan na kailangan natin ngayon pero hanggang ngayon hindi nga nai-implement ang mga programa na ito ” she said.
The said infrastructure projects were marked ‘For Later Release’ under the 2021 national budget and there is still no clearance from the OP. The senators said the unused funds will return to the national treasury once the year ends.
Senator Miguel Zubiri urged the release of the funds which also include the budget for ‘Doktor Para sa Bayan Act’ which aims to provide medical scholarships. He also called for an executive session to discuss the issue.
“We all know that we need to have countryside development, and the only way to do countryside development is to push for medical scholarships, to push for this infrastructure programs,” he said.
The OP, meanwhile, the said budget would still need to be reviewed since it was not part of the original budget submitted under the 2021 National Expenditure Program.
“Many of these—because they are not in the NEP—have not gone through the usual vetting process of the agencies and so there’s that reason to place them in a category of their own, which warrants the imposition of special conditions for their release,” according to OP Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Ong.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea assured that the release of the budget mentioned will be given priority.
“We will just look into it and see to it that this will be acted soonest,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)