The DPWH regional office in Palo, Leyte. (PNA file photo)
PALO, Leyte -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Eastern Visayas regional office has proposed a lower and “more realistic” budget for 2020 in a bid to raise the chance of its approval in the national level.
From the PHP123.12 billion proposed for 2019, the infrastructure agency had cut its proposal to PHP61.11 billion for 2020.
Even with the lower outlay request, DPWH Regional Director Nerie Bueno believes that the entire amount would not be approved.
“Maybe half of the proposal for 2020 will be approved. I’m not pessimistic, I am just realistic. Historically, we only got 10 percent higher than the actual budget in the previous year,” Bueno said during the Regional Development Council’s (RDC) infrastructure committee meeting here on Wednesday.
For 2019, only 22 percent or PHP27.4 billion of the PHP123.12 billion budget endorsed by the RDC has been included in the National Expenditure Program. The DPWH regional chief expects additional budget next year from special projects and fund realignments.
“The disadvantage of proposing huge budget is that the national government does not consider the proposal for more critical projects. We have to wait for another year and make another proposal and endorsement,” Bueno added.
The DPWH regional office here got a PHP34.89-billion budget for 2018, higher than the approved allotment for next year. However, Bueno said there was no budget cut for regular infrastructure program.
“According to DBM (Department of Budget and Management), our budget was not reduced since the approved funds is based on the obligated amount in 2017. What was released to us is based on our absorptive capacity,” she added.
The official hopes that 98 percent of the 2018 and 2019 budget will be utilized with their improved project monitoring and implementation systems.
Of the PHP27.4 billion budget for 2019, PHP5.34 billion is for maintenance and rehabilitation of primary highways, PHP5.82 billion for road network development, PHP2.4 billion for bridge replacement and rehabilitation, PHP6.48 billion for flood mitigation, PHP1.02 billion for convergence and special support program, PHP6.31 billion for local infrastructure program, and PHP20.72 million for foreign-assisted projects.
The DPWH Eastern Visayas regional office is tasked to maintain 2,560 kilometers of national roads and bridges, built in 18 towns and one city.
This quarter, the region’s highest policy-making body has started the scrutiny of the agency's proposed budget for 2020 to check if its activities are aligned with the regional development plan. (PNA)