MANILA, July 27— To confirm if there was indeed underspending in the government’s budget utilization, a senator on Thursday said that the upcoming 2018 national budget hearings in the Senate will find out if the government is on track on spending its annual allocations.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto made this remark following reports quoting officials of the Duterte administration saying that the previous administration failed to spend or delayed the spending of an estimated PHP1 trillion in appropriations.
Recto said that he wanted to know if the Duterte administration has solved the problem of its predecessor noting that he was given a preliminary estimate that unreleased appropriations reached PHP185.8 billion in 2016, on top of unobligated allotments of PHP410.8 billion.
“Of these amounts, how much was due to the election ban on public works and other expenditures, and how much can be pinned on inefficiency, to transition, to lack of plans?” Recto said in a press statement.
He further said measuring the government’s “spending velocity” would lead to the discovery of bottlenecks in the implementation of projects.
“We can find out what is the problem and the corresponding legislative or administrative remedies can be applied,” Recto noted.
Among the government’s infrastructure targets this year are the construction of 47,492 and repair of 20,000 classrooms, building of PHP38-billion worth of irrigation facilities, PHP29.030 billion allocated for Health Facilities Enhancement Program to finance the construction of 1,497 barangay health stations and the improvement of facilities of 353 hospitals, paving of thousands of kilometers of road, and PHP1.179 billion worth of Department of Transportation capital outlays.
Recto said that it would be good to know how many of these projects have been completed, under construction, still in the procurement stage, or literally, in the drawing period. (Azer N. Parrocha/PNA)