Andaya hits P325-M flood control projects in Casiguran, Sorsogon

MANILA, Philippines – House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr continued his assault against Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno over the proposed P3.757-trillion budget for 2019, this time hitting the multi-million pero flood control projects for Casiguran in Sorsogon.

On Wednesday, December 19, Andaya presented budget documents showing that a total of P325.113 million has been proposed for flood management programs in Casiguran alone.

Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor is the father-in-law of Diokno’s daughter. 

“Ito po sa isang bayan lang eh P325 million na. Ito na naman po ‘yong bayan ng kanyang balae diyan po sa Casiguran, Sorsogon, kung saan po mayor ‘yong kanyang balae. Isang project lang dito, P100 million na,” said Andaya. 

(One town already got P325 million. This is the town where the in-law of Diokno is mayor. One project here already costs P100 million.)

The P325.113 million allotted for Casiguran projects under the Flood Management Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is broken down as follows:

Andaya claimed this was unfair and compared it to the P74.128 million allotted for a pumping station for Estero de Sunog Apog in flood-prone Tondo, Manila.

He also cited the special trust fund that the DPWH received from the Australia Agency for International Development in October 2010, with the goals of implementing a comprehensive flood risk management plan for Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Pampanga. 

“Alam naman nating maraming tao diyan na binaha. Eh siguro mas marami sigurong tao dito, pero P74 million lang ang naka-allocate para sa lugar na ito. So ano ba talaga 'yong basehan ng pagbigay ho natin ng pondo para sa flood control? May master plan tayo? Kamag-anak ba? O ala-tsamba ba ‘yong ginagawa natin?” said Andaya.

(We know that many people there experience flooding. There are likely more people here, but only P74 million was allocated for this place. So what’s the real basis for the flood control funds? Is it the master plan? Relatives? Or is it just a game of chance?) 

The Camarines Sur 1st District congressman has been accusing Diokno of using his influence as Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary to help bag multibillion-peso infrastructure projects for Sorsogon. (READ: House wants Duterte to fire Diokno from DBM).

Andaya previously alleged that Diokno was responsible for the whopping P10-billion worth of public works funds for Sorsogon in 2018. 

Diokno is also under fire for supposedly favoring CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, and for the P75-billion "insertion" in the proposed 2019 budget of the DPWH.

Diokno had categorically denied all allegations against him and had since turned the tables on lawmakers. On Wednesday, Diokno claimed in a Palace news briefing press briefing that some House members were  interested in uusing the road users' tax for the 2019 elections.

Despite attacks from the House, Diokno maintained the trusted of Malacañang and other Cabinet members. The budget chief had said that lawmakers were using the allegations against him to distract the public from Senator Panfilo Lacson’s accusations that the House passed the a pork-riddled 2019 budget.

The House is set to launch a probe into the alleged budget anomalies in the 2018 and 2019 budgets on January 3, 2019. Andaya said on Wednesday that while the House would invite Diokno, they would not force him to attend. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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