It’s common to hear commuters complain about repeated road constructions, noticeably at main thoroughfares that had been worked on previously a number of times.
These “improvements” have not helped eliminate flooding, instead they have aggravated the traffic situation particularly in Metro Manila.
So, people inevitably have come to believe that these public works projects are nothing but a milking cow for favored politicians, especially administration candidates in the May 9 elections.
This age-old racket has been modus operandi with which officials of the implementing agency, local government executives and congressional representatives each get their piece of the pie or the allocated public funds for projects they identified or approved.
Bulok na style na iyan.
This election year, billions of pesos have been earmarked for the campaign funds for political allies and cronies through massive “rehabilitation and upgrading” of provincial roads program.
This is why the record-high 2016 national budget of P3.002 trillion is twice as big as the P1.6-trillion budget in the first year of the Noynoy administration.
In allocating the money for each province, “performance and need scores” were considered, said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
The scores reflected how a province used the previous special local roads fund (SLRF) and the length of road network, the “products of Matuwid na Daan,” said the mastermind of the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Ang lakas mambola ng opisyal na ito, kaya pinagbabato minsan sa UP. Ang tigas ng mukha!
And, if I may ask Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, was the issue raised by the Commission on Audit (COA) on anomalous P14-billion farm-to-market road projects involving Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala ever resolved?
Undeniably, the DPWH is one of the agencies that have maintained notoriety over the years for numerous irregularities in public works contracts, such as rigged biddings and unfinished projects.
Public works projects, as I’ve said, have been largely used in channeling “pork barrel” funds or lump sum discretionary funds
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I strongly agree with the transparency watchdog group that demanded the candidates in the 2016 polls to state their stand on the issues of pork barrel, lump sum funds, savings and other “red flags” in the national budget.
“All of us are taxpayers and the people’s money affects everyone,” said former national treasurer Leonor Briones, lead convenor of Social Watch Philippines.
I concur with her that voters should choose leaders based on platforms on the budget and public finance that pursue sustainable development, uphold the Constitution and maintain balance of power in the government.
The budget expert says the 2016 national budget still contains lump sum appropriations similar to the outlawed Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the DAP.
We have reason to believe Briones and this issue simply goes to show that there has been no let-up in fleecing the national treasure with impunity.
We can only hope that this massive plunder by the administration that professes matuwid na daan (straight path) or good governance, such false advertising which we were duped with in 2010.
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