‘Build, Build, Build’ driving infra allocations higher – Diokno

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A worker installs steel rods at a construction site in Paranaque city, Metro Manila. REUTERS

MANILA – Budget secretary Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program was behind larger allocations for infrastructure compared to past administrations, as he rejected a House leader’s allegations of wrongdoing.

The proposed budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways is at P636 billion in 2019, compared to “less than P100 billion” during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Diokno said this could be shocking to House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Arroyo’s former budget secretary who is now accusing the incumbent budget chief of “insertions” in the 2019 General Appropriations Act to favor in-laws.

“During our family meetings, we don’t talk politics. We don’t talk projects. Those are taboo issues,” Diokno told ANC.

“I’ve been in government for more than 50 years, I managed to keep my nose clean,” he said.

Questions over the alleged insertions caused a delay in the passage of the 2019 budget, and the government is now operating on last year’s, Diokno said.

Salaries for state workers and maintenance of government offices will continue but some P28 billion in “entirely new” infrastructure could be affected by a prolonged impasse on the budget, he said. (ABS-CBN News)

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