MANILA— Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar on Monday said he was going to clarify the right-of-way (ROW) issue involving road projects that Senator Panfilo Lacson wanted to be resolved.
In an interview with reporters in the Senate, Villar said he hoped he would get the chance to speak to Lacson to explain why his agency’s budget should be retained.
It may be recalled that Lacson, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, proposed a PHP50-billion cut in the Senate version of the DPWH budget due to ROW issues.
Several lawmakers in both chambers of Congress opposed slashing the budget but Lacson said he was ready to justify it.
Villar, however, believed he too would be able to justify why they needed the amount Lacson proposed to cut.
He said all projects under the DPWH budget had a ROW component and there is a process for the agency to acquire the ROW and civil works within one year.
“All projects have a right of way component. You just have to acquire the right of way, when you acquire the right of way, civil works can push through,” Villar said in an interview.
Villar pointed out that he wanted to defend the projects that were “implementable.”
He said the budget cut would affect the projects critical to the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program.
Asked what he would do if the cut is not restored, Villar said it is not for him to decide on his agency’s budget but merely recommend it.
“The budget is not for me to decide. The budget is an act of Congress. We can only recommend,” he added.