Press Release
November 14, 2019

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

SFMD: Sa akin, face-saving iyon. Pero hindi ko naman maintindihan kung bakit hindi aaminin? Why they can't admit? Maybe there was over enthusiasm at the start of the administration when they listed 75 flagship projects. Ngayon in the middle of this administration, they realized na hindi kaya. Bakit hindi nila sabihi nang diretso? Ngayon out of the 75, 28 projects were dropped. They cannot even give the value of these projects. Ngayon, 47 na lang ang natitira at dinagdagan ng 53 projects. But some of those 53 projects, - it was admitted on record - are ongoing projects. So isinama doon sa flagship projects para sabihin siguro at the end of this administration, they can claim na out of 100 flagship projects, so many were done, so they will get good grades. There is nothing wrong with that but, maybe, transparency would be a better standard. Obviously, dinagdag lang yung 53 projects so that there can be some cosmetic and so they can say that things are moving. The 75 projects designated as flagship projects were really something that could be game-changer for many of the provinces and the people affected by those 75 projects. Now after they have reviewed it, they removed some projects.

Q: Ang sabi po ng DOTR it is unfair to say that it's a dismal failure kasi yung 75 lang naman daw po ang apektado and outside of that, there are hundreds of infrastructure projects under the BBB?

SFMD: They were the ones who designated this as flagship projects.

Q: Hindi raw failure iyon.

SFMD: Tell me how they will describe it para hindi na tayo magdebate. Ang pinag-uusapan diyan, the fact that only 9 projects were started, it is an indication of problem on underspending and that's where we should focus on. Ngayon they are trying to explain nab aka mali naman yung formula na ginamit ng COA at hind naman ganoon kababa ang disbursement rates. We will talk to COA. We have the right to rely on the data given by COA whose duty is to monitor performance.

Q: Kanina you enumerated some of the accomplishments of the Aquino administration.

SFMD: I just cited for the record na nagawa naman ito. Hindi naman totoo na wala namang nagawa.

Q: Yung 9 out of 75 projects, sa kanila galing iyon di ba?

SFMD: Sa kanila. It came from them, not from anyone.

Q: Ano yung solution sa underspending?

SFMD: In all their technical notes, several pages were devoted to recognition of underspending as a real problem. that is why they impose this cash-based budgeting so agencies can be forced to execute faster. The budget secretary himself is exasperated with this. He told me on the side that in every cabinet meeting, pinag-uusapan nila ito.

Q: Solution ba yung emergency power?

SFMD: I do not see the need for emergency power. The emergency power for transportation has been there for years and they cannot come to an agreement because they do not know what their plans are. Saan gagamitin ang emergency power kung hindi natin alam kung saan gagamitin?

Q: Para raw mapabilis yung BBB?

SFMD: Kung nangangailangan ka ng 2,000 engineers sa DPWH, hindi kailangan ang emergency power, which is identified as a shortcoming. You do not need an emergency power to make sure that you spend the money allotted on time.

Q: Si President ba dapat yung magpukpok.

SFMD: I am not part of this administration and I do not want to tell them what they should do. Being in the Senate, one of our functions is oversight.

Q: Duda ba kayo roon sa classroom report?

SFMD: In that classroom issue, iba-iba yung kanilang data. In the technical notes on the 2019 budget prepared by DBM, it was asserted that from July 2016 to June 2018, 22,133 classrooms were constructed. In the COA report, only 11 classrooms wre constructed in 2018 out of 47,000 classrooms. Now the DPWH is claiming that they constructed 98,051 classrooms. This is a huge discrepancy. Again, when we bring out these data to the public, it is our effort to show that we have to improve our execution of the budget if we are to perform for purposes of expanding our economy.

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