August 10, 2023 – On the first day of the budget hearings on the proposed FY 2024 budget at the House of Representatives, CIBAC Party-List Representative Bro. Eddie Villanueva raised the worsening problem of massive flooding in the country, particularly in Central Luzon, and seeks a tighter scrutiny and probe of flood control budgets lodged in separate agencies in the national budget.
In the past days, several provinces in Luzon, particularly Bulacan and Pampanga which are currently both under state of calamity, were submerged in high-level flooding caused by the heavy rains of typhoons Egay and Falcon and spilling rivers in the provinces. This happened despite the hefty multi-billion funds in the national budget aimed at mitigating flooding.
For year 2023, the government has appropriated Php 280 billion pesos for flood control management program under the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). This is on top of other flood mitigation projects in the budgets of DENR, NIA and MMDA. For next year 2024, an amount of Php 265 billion under DPWH budget is being proposed to fund flood control projects – on top of other agencies’ flood control budgets.
“Naalala ko po sa aming pagsilip po sa 2024 National Expenditure Program o NEP, almost the same kinds of projects ang popondohan for next year. Puro flood control structures along rivers, slope protection, revetment, riverwall, etc. Madam Chair, these are the kinds of projects na pinopondohan natin in the previous years pero palala pa rin nang palala ang pagbaha sa ating bansa. Gusto ko sanang malaman kung effective ba ang ganitong approach? Heto ba ang solusyon sa problema natin sa pagbaha?” says CIBAC Rep. Villanueva during the budget hearing with the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC).
“Sa aming pag-aaral, around P1 billion pesos a [day] ang funding against flood. Meron po ba kayong assessment o review kung effective ang mga nailagay nating budget dito sa flood control? Meron po bang integrated budgeting ng flood control para hindi nasasayang ang pera, P 1 billion pesos a day, tapos andaming naaapektuhan? Iyon lang ang aking pakiusap, alang-alang sa milyun-milyong kababayan na taun-taon ay nalulubog sa baha, lalo na sa aking lalawigan sa Bulacan, bigyan po natin ng special na pagsilip ang mga flood control budgets during this budget season,” adds the CIBAC solon.
“Nakakagalit po kasi Madam Chair ang palala nang palalang problema ng pagbaha. At sinasabi ko Madam Chair na this time hindi ko po kayang pumayag na iaa-approve ang bilyun-bilyong budget na inilalaan natin sa flood control management program. Kailangan po nating magparamdam ng pangil ng accountability, hindi po pwedeng business as usual lang,” exclaims the CIBAC Rep. Villanueva. #