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Slashed, vetoed infra funds ‘not solvable’ in 2020 budget – Cayetano

The slashed and vetoed allocations for infrastructure projects in the legislative districts of several lawmakers may not be restored in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday.

In an interview, Cayetano said it was "very difficult" to make a promise to lawmakers that their requested allocations be included in the 2020 General Appropriations Bill, which the House began deliberating in the plenary this afternoon.

"Halimbawa, ang DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) nag-uusap pa lang for 2021 noong budget, sabihin mo iinput mo yung P60 billion, may possibility na a part of that or a big part maipasok nila. Pero ngayon na nakalatag na, saan mo ibabawas yung P60 billion para ipasok doon? Sa ibang departamento?" he said.

"This is a problem that we just have to be honest with the congressmen that it might not be solvable in this budget," he added.

House Committee on Appropriations Isidro Ungab made a similar explanation on Monday, though he recognizes that these projects whose allocations were either slashed or vetoed were beneficial to the constituents of these congressmen.

Cayetano urged his fellow lawmakers to be more patient in waiting for their requested funds to be restored.

He said Northern Samar Representative Paul Daza has been assigned to coordinate with the affected congressmen, while CWS party-list Representative Romeo Momo has been tasked to coordinate with the DPWH regarding these concerns.

"We're trying our best and you can't take it against the congressmen to try to get more for their district," Cayetano said.

"But we're putting some rhyme and reason naman to the process para hindi naman maapektuhan ang national priorities," he added.

The House of Representatives commenced the plenary deliberations on the 2020 GAB on Tuesday, with the goal of approving the measure on final reading by October 4, before Congress goes on a month-long break. — DVM, GMA News