MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on Tuesday questioned the 1,257 percent increase in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) allocation for feasibility studies next fiscal year.
A quick look at the DPWH’s proposed P822.200 billion allocation for next year shows that at least P15.912 billion would go to the agency’s feasibility studies.
This proposed appropriation is 1,257 percent higher than the DWPH’s allocation for the same item in 2023.
But this did not go down well with Villanueva, who asked for an explanation from DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan.
“We needed this amount for project preparation and preliminary study work. Before we actually start the project, we need to implement field validation. We call this pre-feasibility study or preliminary or detailed engineering design,” said Bonoan.
THe proposed that the allocation, if approved, would be distributed among all regions of the country, Bonoan said.
Later in the hearing, Villanueva asked Bonoan whether part of the proposed 15.912 billion euros for feasibility studies would be allocated to studying the effects of reclamation.
“Hindi po, I can’t remember.” (No, sir. I don’t remember),” Bonoan replied.
Villanueva previously expressed frustration over the land reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
The senator, a native of Bulacan, alleged that land reclamation projects are among the factors that caused massive and incessant flooding in vulnerable areas like his home province.