By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, July 14 (PNA) — Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Tuesday clarified that only Php1.018-billion of lump sum funds are included in the agency’s 2015 budget and not Php11.4-billion as earlier stated by a former rehab czar.
Abaya made the statement to correct the announcement made by resigned Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary and senator Panfilo Lacson.
“The correct total is only Php1-billion and Php18-million of lump sum funds in the DOTC’s 2015 budget,” Abaya said, stressing that the Php1-billion was allocated for disaster-related rehabilitation projects.
“The only reason why these are lumped together is because we cannot predict where a particular disaster will strike,” he added.
Abaya also explained that in case calamities similar to typhoon “Yolanda” hit the Philippines anew, the agency will be able to respond immediately with rehabilitation and recovery works.
“It is wrong to assume that lump sum funds are wrong. Certainly, as we learned from the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda, we have to be prepared for calamities by having funding readily available,” he noted.
In line with the DOTC’s budget reform efforts, the agency said that Php53.5 out of its total 2015 budget of Php54.5 are itemized.
DOTC’s 2015 lump sum funds are composed of Php1-billion for disaster-related rehabilitation projects (Quick Response Fund); Php6-million for construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of aviation infrastructure; Php6-million for construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of railway infrastructure; and Php6-million for construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of port, lighthouse, and harbor infrastructure. (PNA)