Drilon nixes emergency powers for gov’t infra push

MANILA – The government needs to focus on its infrastructure projects instead of granting emergency powers for President Rodrigo Duterte to manage underspending, opposition Sen. Franklin Drilon said. Drilon made the remark after Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said he would file a measure seeking “emergency powers” for Duterte to roll out his “Build, Build, Build” program faster.

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Hindi na po kailangan ang emergency power, siguro emergency attention. Tutok lang. Pag emergency, maraming diskumpiyado d’yan kung ano ang mangyayari,” Drilon said in DZMM radio program. “May sapat na pondo, may sapat reglamento on the ground para mapabilisan ang trabaho ng mga proyekto.”

Drilon earlier called government’s infrastructure program a “dismal failure,” with only nine out of 75 projects that have started construction.

Last week, government expanded its infra push to 100 projects to focus on more “feasible” ones.

Drilon said state agencies should follow the cash-based budgeting system, which allows funds to be disbursed within the fiscal year and if unused it will go back to the Bureau of Treasury.

The senator said the chief of the Department of Budget Management told him that he himself was frustrated with government agencies’ slow spending of funds.

Sinabi pa nga niya out of exasperation, one of these days, ang Pangulo na mismo ang papipirmahin ko ng memo na nag-uutos sa mga Cabinet members na bilisan ang kanilang execution,” Drilon said.

The Senate will likely pass next year’s spending plan by end of November, Drilon said.

“Wala pong problema, we will finish the budget on time,” he said. (ABS-CBN News/PN)


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