Lacson, Legarda agree to remove additional ₱75-B in DPWH's 2019 budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson proposed on Monday the removal of the controversial ₱75 billion allocation in the proposed 2019 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Lacson, during the plenary deliberations on the budget proposal, said he and Senator Loren Legarda have agreed to delete the amount. Legarda is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and sponsor of the DPWH's budget.

"During the break, there was an agreement between this representation and the distinguished sponsor and we need the comment of the agency that the ₱75 billion that they have admitted not knowing except when or until it was included in NEP (National Expenditure Program) be deleted in the proper time during the period of amendments," Lacson said.

Legarda accepted Lacson's motion, saying the DPWH is amenable to the proposal.

"He already mentioned it to me before the break," she said, referring to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

Legarda, citing information from Villar, explained that the agency's original budget request amounted to ₱651 billion. However, the Department of Budget and Management gave the agency a budget ceiling of ₱480 billion, which the agency followed when it submitted its final budget proposal.

It was only when Villar saw the NEP that he knew about the additional budget, Legarda said.