MANILA — Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson blamed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for failing to release the rehabilitation budget right away.
The P167.8-billion budget was approved by President Aquino for the rehabilitation of areas affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
Lacson criticized the department for not releasing the budget fast enough.
“I am blaming the DBM because its job was to release funds and the budget here was approved by the President. The department should comply. So why did it not release the funds?” Lacson said.
Lacson noted how the rehabilitation efforts are already behind schedule because of delays in the release of the budget.
He also recalled an incident when he realized that there was no item in the budget for the rehabilitation.
“I told Secretary Abad to put in even P1 for Yolanda rehabilitation because there is a Supreme Court ruling that said a budget cannot be augmented if there was no budget item for it,” Lacson said, adding that Abad told him he would put a P1-billion item for rehabilitation and he did so.
“My conclusion at that time was that the rehabilitation was not important. Because how could you forget to put an item for rehabilitation for Yolanda if it’s important. And to think we were then in the thick of rehabilitation efforts,” he said.
He however said that the department could still catch up on its rehabilitation efforts.
“The department can still catch up because the year has not yet ended,” he said.