Funding for 11 water supply projects proposed by Congressman Hector Sanchez as part of his campaign pledge have remained intact despite budget cuts implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Catanduanes Engineering District, a total of P63.5 million had been allotted under the 2020 national budget for the construction of water systems in the towns of Bato, Caramoran, Pandan, San Andres, San Miguel, Viga, Virac and Bagamanoc as well as a Level II water system in Obi, Caramoran.
Cong. Sanchez had promised during the campaign for the 2019 local elections that he would prioritize funding for water supply facilities in towns in need of potable water once elected to Congress.
Twelve other projects also survived the reduction in the budget of DPWH for the current year while 26 others also belonging to the so-called “For Later Release” (FLR) projects had varying amounts slashed from the original allocations.
It was assured, however, that the amounts cut from the allocations would be restored in the infra agency’s budget for 2021.
Also unscathed in the fund reduction were the allocations for the rehabilitation of multi-purpose buildings at Bato, TESDA Cabugao, San Roque in Bato, Pandan, and Viga; the rehabilitation and improvement of the road from Sta. Elena to San Roque in Virac; and, the rehabilitation and improvement of the road from Moonwalk to San Roque in Virac.
Similarly intact were funding for the construction and rehabilitation of a building at the Baras Rural Development High School; repair and rehabilitation of multi-purpose building at Catanduanes National High School; construction of abaca processing facilities at Pandan and Virac; and, concreting of road from Hawan Ilaya to Mamangal, Balite, Virac.
It may be recalled that last month, it was reported by the Tribune that P344.7 million in funding for at least 20 infrastructure projects set to be implemented in Catanduanes by the DPWH had been lost due to budget cuts resorted to by Malacanang as a result of the pandemic.
The deleted projects had been classified by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) as “insertions” of Congress members and marked as “FLR” in the list of national projects.
Fortunately, the DBM allowed the release recently of P614 million out of the P922 million coming from “realigned” funds identified by Cong. Sanchez.
The slashed amount of P308 million, it is claimed, will be restored in the 2021 national budget for the same projects affected by the budget cuts.
These include P280 million for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of various national secondary and tertiary roads, which had been reduced to P235 million.
The P555 million allotted for the construction, repair, rehabilitation and improvement of various local infrastructure projects was also drastically pared to just P245 million.
Cong. Sanchez reportedly expressed satisfaction that the DPWH can now proceed with the implementation of his priority projects, particularly the 11 water supply facilities funded this year in towns affected by lack of potable water.