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Lawmakers’ wrangling over insertions in budget delays DU30’s ‘Build-Build-Build’

NAGA CITY --- The 3rd district engineering office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Canaman, Camarines Sur is in quandary of pursuing the national government’s infrastructure projects because of the delayed approval of the 2019 General Appropriation Act (GAA).

The engineering office is expecting an allocation of more or less P700M in this year’s national budget which is intended to finance the “Build-Build-Build” program of President Rodrigo Duterte in municipalities that are within its area of coverage.

But because of the internal strife between the senators and representatives over alleged insertions in the national budget, deliberations were stalled, thereby making the GAA’s approval to suffer interruption. Assistant District Engineer Ric Ragragio said that the implementation of the projects could have been in full-swing by now “considering the favorable weather condition that the locality has been experiencing in the past several months.”

In this city, included in the infrastructure projects that are to be funded under the “Build-Build-Build” program are the expansion of Magsaysay Bridge and the road widening of Magsaysay Avenue.

Ragragio clarified that the funds that his office has been spending right now on road widening of Melchor T. Villanueva Avenue (former Liboton Street) and the Concepcion Grande-Del Rosario main roads including the drainage rehabilitation projects in these areas were sourced from last year’s budget.

“The public can expect full implementation of the new projects once the [DPWH] central office sent us the needed construction funds,” Ragragio said.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo last Monday signed the long-delayed P3.8 Trillion national budget for 2019 but vetoed P95.3B in public works that were not among his priority projects.

It was a victory for the Senate, reports said, which strongly opposed last-minute changes made to the budget bill by the House of Representatives that it considered unconstitutional.

With the signing of the 2019 budget, Malacañang now shifts from the re-enacted 2018 budget, on which it operated during the Senate-House standoff.

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