Lacson: DPWH’s proposed 2022 budget shows devolution only on paper

Lacson: DPWH’s proposed 2022 budget shows devolution only on paper

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)’s
compliance with the Supreme Court and Malacanang’s directives to
devolve certain functions — and funds — to the local government units
for 2022 may be good only on paper, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson bared
Tuesday.

Lacson noted that in the DPWH’s proposed P686.1-billion budget for
2022, it is still the central office that handles funds for items and
projects which should be devolved and implemented by LGUs.

“While 89 percent ang nawala sa Local Program, nag-increase ang
Convergence and Special Support Program by 232 percent (While there
was an 89-percent decrease from funds for local programs, there was an
increase of 232 percent for convergence and special support
programs),” he said at the hearing for the DPWH’s 2022 budget.

“They are compliant on paper but in reality, they are not complying.
That’s my point,” he added.

Lacson noted the DPWH appears at first glance to be compliant with the
Supreme Court’s Mandanas Ruling by decreasing its budget for local
programs by 88.9 percent, with the assumption that the programs and
funds will be handled by the LGUs.

He also pointed out that the 2021 budget item entitled “Various
Infrastructure Including Local Projects” (VILPs) is no longer present
under the DPWH FY 2022 budget to comply with the devolution efforts.
Yet, projects of the same nature are lodged under their program,
“Convergence and Special Support Program,” which had a 232-percent
increase.

“Different nomenclature but exactly the same program… Nothing is
being devolved here,” he said, adding his scrutiny showed the actual
budget decrease for the DPWH was only 5.8 percent.

Lacson also questioned the DPWH officials present on the role of LGUs
in the planning phase of all these programs under the DPWH’s
operations budget.

“What participation did they have in the preparation of 2022
budget under these Programs, Activities, and Projects?” he said.

Meanwhile, Lacson – who has championed the needs and priorities of the
local government units – reiterated the Supreme Court’s Mandanas
Ruling should be a very good opportunity for LGUs to be technically
capacitated.

“The LGUs should actively participate concerning local PAPs. It is now
the time to activate the local development councils because alam natin
over the past years masyadong centrally managed ang infrastructure
projects ng national government (It is the time to activate the local
development councils because over the past years, infrastructure
projects of have been centrally managed by the national government),”
he said.

“Very little if at all ang participation ng LGUs. This is an opportune
time to be compliant with the SC ruling and EO 138 issued by President
Duterte,” he added. (ai/mtvn)

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