Press Release
October 14, 2020

Drilon questions lumpsum-riddled DPWH budget

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon scored the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) for its lumpsum-riddled P666.47 proposed allocation for next year, calling it "most unusual" that P345.25 billion in lumpsum appropriation is lodged under the agency's central office.

"This is the first time that I see from the DPWH budget around P345 billion in lumpsum appropriations. This is most unusual. This kind of budgeting does not augur well for our policy of transparency," Drilon said during the Senate finance committee's hearing on the agency's budget Wednesday.

Secretary Villar said that they subsequently submitted an attachment to the National Expenditure Program to itemize the lumpsum appropriation.

Drilon, however, questioned DPWH's action.

"I don't recall any instance in the past when a voluminous document was submitted and was tried to pass as part of the constitutionally required expenditure program (NEP). In this case, the alleged 1,200-page addendum was belatedly submitted. While the Secretary of DWPH tried to explain the circumstances behind this, it does not change the fact that there is huge lumpsum appropriation and that is never before seen in the history of the DPWH budget," he added.

Of the P345 billion lumpsum appropriation, P201.2 billion are for road program, P29.04 billion for bridge program, P65.38 billion for flood management program, and P49.63 billion for convergence and special support program. The NEP, as submitted, did not provide for any breakdown, he cited.

Under the P201.2 billion lumpsum amount for road program, Drilon said P16.23 billion is allotted for road widening of primary roads, P14.48 billion for secondary roads and P6 billion for tertiary roads.

"These are huge lumpsum amounts. We do not know how to deal with this. This is a challenge for the committee and the Senate to be able to scrutinize these huge lump-sum items," Drilon stressed.

Drilon also questioned why a staggering P345.25 billion is lodged under the DPWH central office and not distributed among its regional units. The amount is equivalent to 52% percent of the total appropriation of the agency next year, he added.

He also pointed to about P49.63 billion lumpsum amount lodged under the central office for convergence and special support program but only a measly P16.8 billion was identified for the North Manila District Engineering Office.

In a statement, Drilon reiterated that lumpsum appropriations are unconstitutional pursuant to the ruling of the Supreme Court.

He added the presence of never-before-seen lumpsum amounts in the budget speaks very poorly about the DPWH's commitment to transparency in programming its projects.

The Senate chief fiscalizer asked the Senate finance committee, chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara, to do everything to disaggregate any lumpsum item in the budget in the spirit of transparency.

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