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Pampanga seeking bigger DPWH anti-flood fund

  • Written by Bernard Galang
  • Published in Provincial
  • Read: 215

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- Vice Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda has asked his colleagues in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass a resolution requesting the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to increase the agency’s budget for Pampanga in 2017 to fund additional flood-control measures and infrastructure.

The resolution aims to support the appeal of Gov. Lilia Pineda against the budget cut in DPWH’s projects in the province from P4.003 billion in 2016 to P2.27 billion in 2017, said Pineda, the presiding officer of the provincial board.
   
Antonio Molano, DPWH director in Central Luzon, reported the budget reduction in his presentation during the infrastructure preparedness meeting attended by Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, local officials, leaders of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham) and heads of regional agencies recently.
   
Molano reported that of the P31-billion proposed budget for Central Luzon next year, only P15 billion worth of projects were included in the National Expenditure Program for the General Appropriations Act.
   
The P31 billion was confirmed by the Regional Development Council (RDC), according to Renato Romero, vice chair of PamCham and head of private sector representatives in the RDC, the highest policy-making body in the region.
   
Congresswoman Arroyo asked Molano to provide information on the 2016 DPWH regional budget, how this was spent and if savings were generated. She said she would seek a budget increase if the information shows the need for such action.
   
“Hindi puwede na mabawasan ang budget para sa mga proyekto ng DPWH sa Pampanga. Tapunan tayo ng tubig-baha. Bakit tayo babawasan? Ano’ng mangyayari sa two billion pesos?” said Governor Pineda.
   
At the height of the southwest monsoon rains enhanced by low pressure area from August 12 to 20, as much as 190 barangays in the City of San Fernando and 16 towns in the province were flooded, affecting 76,924 families (345,824 people) and drowning at least two persons. Damages to crops and fisheries were initially estimated at P102.3 million.