THE United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Sunday bared that P1.9 billion in additional allocation has been inserted in the proposed national budget next year for the office of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
UNA Secretary General and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said the additional allocation for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) could be part of a nationwide campaign buildup for Roxas’ presidential bid in 2016.
Tiangco said the ”questionable and highly irregular” insertions of P1.9 billion is only a speck of the P20-billion national budget earmarked through the bottom-up budgeting (BUB) programs led by Roxas.
He said he received reports that on Thursday, Roxas and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad met with members of the Liberal Party (LP) to discuss the use of P20 billion to start campaigning for 2016 through BUB involving select civil society groups and local government units.
He said the P1.9 billion are for items outside the scope and responsibility of the DILG.
Tiangco was referring to the P76 million appropriation supposedly for “climate change adaptation”, the P573 million for “potable water supply” for waterless municipalities and barangays and P1.25 billion for housing intended for informal settlers in Metro Manila.
“I believe this is the first time that the DILG has appointed itself as the champion for climate change, potable water and mass housing,” he said.
With the growing clamor to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Tiangco expressed fears that insertions in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) are likely to happen.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd announced on Friday the pork barrel will be scrapped and replaced by line-item budgets for specific projects in the GAA.
According to Tiangco, if the budget is not strictly scrutinized, the LP would have its own version of PDAF tucked within the regular budget for 2014.
“Why would we give extra appropriation to DILG on budgetary support for housing, water system and climate change when there are already budgetary support to key government agencies already handling these concerns? Are climate change and housing the core competence of the DILG?” Tiangco asked.
In the proposed 2014 GAA, around 40,000 families are the target beneficiaries of the P1.25 billion allotment for the DILG’s self-initiated housing program.
The DILG-led BUB scheme was piloted this year by tasking the poorest municipalities and cities to develop their respective poverty reduction programs and projects in consultation with local executives and civil society organizations in their localities.
As a counterpart, the President would invest P20 billion in poverty-reduction projects that will involve non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 1,226 local governments.