Scrutinizing 1,200-page annex on DPWH budget a challenge for senators —Drilon


Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said the voluminous addendum that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) submitted for their proposed P666.47 billion budget for 2021 is a challenge to senators.

"This was unusual. The Senate received this annex of what, 1,200 pages or something. 1,200 pages of addendum—this is most unusual, Mr. Secretary, and we do not know how to deal with this," Drilon said as the DPWH faced senators for budget deliberations.

"Is this part of the  budget now or as a supporting document? I don't recall any instance in the past when a 1,200-page addendum was added to the budget. Is it because of the late submission of projects in the congressional districts?" he added.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar denied that it was the reason why the agency experienced delays and had to submit an annex.

He explained that the agency had limited time to prepare its budget proposal because the ceiling was only provided by the Department of Budget and Management a day before the deadline of printing which was on July 17.

"They allowed us to submit the annex to detail the projects," Villar said, noting that the document was submitted on August 14.


The DPWH chief assured that the addendum was made for the purpose of transparency.

"We want to be as transparent as possible with the budget," Villar said.

The issue on the voluminous addendum was touched after Drilon raised that over P201 billion for a road program was appropriated in the central office of DPWH in lump sum.

"We have no lump sums, maybe perhaps this might be tied to what happened earlier when we had to submit as an annex the specifics of our budget ceiling," Villar said.

"Any projects that are in the central [office] are downloaded to the specific operating units and they are all detailed," he added.

Senate Committee on Finance chairperson Sonny Angara assured his colleagues that Villar has committed to help the upper chamber in breaking down the figures included in the 1,200-page document.

"Given the unusual circumstances, he also personally contracted COVID, he's a little reticent to mention that but I'm sure that also played a role in the timeline because that happened in the crucial period of deadlines," Angara said.—AOL, GMA News