SECRETARY Manuel Roxas 2nd of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is willing to give up the proposed P5.6-billion budget for grassroots infrastructure projects that an opposition lawmaker claims is his campaign kitty.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio has said the allocation for the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) program in the DILG appropriations is meant to fund Roxas’ presumed presidential bid in 2016.
Under the GPB, local government units (LGUs) and people’s organizations identify community projects for funding by the national government.
But Roxas denied Tinio’s claims.
“If you want to, you can choose to have it removed. You tell us what to remove here because these are fruits of our consultation with the people on the ground. They are the ones who proposed these projects. If you don’t want these projects, then it’s your call to make a motion on which projects you want removed,” the DILG chief said in Filipino.
Of the P5.6 billion, P2.6 billion was allocated for providing a potable water supply for LGUs and P3 billion for building local roads or flood-control projects for Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Prosperous Communtity) program.
“We did not choose these projects. The DILG is just doing its mandate in coordinating the implementation of these projects. Everything will be listed per item. We are not hiding anything here. All the details will be available physically and posted on the Internet. The people asked for these, not us,” Roxas said.
Tinio said the GPB initiative is suspiciously expanded to cover all LGUs a year before the elections, when its coverage should be limited to the poorest municipalities.
“Why would Metro Manila need [these projects]? How effective would these be? Is it because elections are near?” Tinio said.
Roxas said it is no secret that poverty is everywhere and that every LGU deserves access to government funds as provided under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
“Let us not put malice because all of this will be itemized once all the communities complete the list of projects they want. I would like to thank Congressman Tinio for the propaganda but the national government is just being of help to the local communities,” the DILG secretary added.
The proposed P2.606-trillion budget for 2015 has allotted P20 billion for the GPB program, the same allocation that the program got in 2014.
Roxas, the president-on-leave of the ruling Liberal Party, ran for vice president in 2010 but narrowly lost to then Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay.