DPWH budget cuts to spare on-going projects

THE bicameral conference committee on the 2018 national budget for 2018 will tackle the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget on Monday, according to Sen. Loren B. Legarda, who chairs the Senate committee on finance.

“We will examine the DPWH budget tomorrow in a way that any cuts to be made will not involve on-going projects,” Legarda said.

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, the committee’s vice-chairman, said in an interview after the first bicameral meeting last week that his proposed amendments to the 2018 budget involving cuts of over Php68 billion from the DPWH’s budget, including an Php18-billion “lump sum” that the department cannot disaggregate, and another Php50.7 billion from projects that have right-of-way issues.

The Senate, during the period of amendments, accepted the Php50.7-billion cut. During the interview, Lacson said the Php18 billion can still be removed during the bicameral meeting if the DPWH fails to defend it.

The funds, according to Lacson, will be diverted to the “Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), teacher’s chalk allowance, feeding programs, and the National ID System (once implemented) of the Philippine Statistics Authority.”