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Thursday, September 16, 2021

DOTr's P151.34 Billion 2022 budget gets approval of the House Committee on Appropriations


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The budget proposal of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) advances to the Plenary for deliberations following the approval of the House Committee on Appropriations during its budget briefing on 15 September 2021.

The DOTr's proposed budget for 2022 is P151.34 billion. Of this amount, P150.763 billion needs to be included in the 2022 General Appropriations Act, while P579.8 million are already covered by existing appropriations previously authorized by Congress.

DOTr Secretary Art Tugade was joined by other department officials to explain before the Committee the budget proposals of each attached agency and corporation, and present a review of the agency’s performance over the past five years.

During the briefing, DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Giovanni Lopez explained that the proposed 2022 budget of the DOTr will be allocated for the following: Personnel Services (P16.75 billion), Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (P16. 86 billion), Financial Expenses (P7.88 million), and Capital Outlays (P117.13 billion).

Infrastructure Projects get a share of 88% out of the total Capital Outlays budget, with the Railway Sector getting the biggest chunk of 98% of the total infrastructure budget for 2022.

Meanwhile, the Service Contracting initiative emerged as a prominent topic during the deliberations. Several lawmakers expressed their manifestations and support for the implementation of the program, which gives weekly payouts to drivers according to the number of trips they completed per week, and allows the operation of ‘Libreng Sakay’ for medical frontliners and essential workers amid the pandemic.

To note, the DOTr requested from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) a total of P10 billion to fund the Service Contracting Program. However, the proposed fund was not included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022.

“‘Yung Service Contracting, hindi lang ‘ho makikinabang dito yung konduktor, ‘yung drayber, ‘yung tsuper – buong ekonomiya ‘ho ang makikinabang dyan dahil kailangan ‘yan sa pagpasok ng trabaho, sa pagpunta ng palengke, sa eskwelahan,” Secretary Art Tugade pointed out.

Recognizing the crucial contribution of the Service Contracting program to critically-impacted transport stakeholders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Samar 1st District Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento who is also the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, appealed to his fellow lawmakers to reevaluate proposed Service Contracting budget and for it to be included in 2022 NEP.

“From the Chairman on Committee on Transportation, I would strongly manifest that we, the Committee, will assist the budget and provide Service Contracting the amount of no less than P3 billion for the 2022 budget," Rep. Sarmiento said.

Meanwhile, several lawmakers also expressed equal support and positive manifestations during the briefing of the DOTr’s 2022 budget. They underscored the various accomplishments of the DOTr in terms of the implementation of transformational initiatives and the building and rehabilitation of much-needed transport infrastructures all over the country.

“Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa ating matalino, magaling, maasikaso, masipag na Secretary sa magandang mga maitulong niya sa ating distrito,” Ilocos Sur 1st District Rep. and Deputy Speaker Deogracias Victor Savellano said.

“Gusto ko lang ipaalam sa ating lahat na nakikinig dito ngayon na ‘yung Salomague Port po ay maganda ang nagawa ni Secretary Tugade doon – na nakadaong ‘ho ang dalawang malalaking cruise ships na maraming nangangarap na dumaong sa kani-kanilang lugar. Pero sa ginawa ni Secretary doon, hindi na lang dream kung hindi ay nagkatotoo ‘ho,” Cong. Savellano added.

“Alam niyo ‘ho noong panahon ng pandemya, nakikita ko na malaki ang tulong ng DOTr. Isinaalang-alang nila ang personal na kapakanan to make sure na ma-deliver nila at matulungan ang taumbayan. Naalala ko – March 14, [2020] noong first na nag-lockdown. Marami pong mga OFWs na sa airport, seaport at sa lahat ng mga areas na kung saan puwedeng delikado ang buhay nila. Hindi po nanaig ang takot – isang text lang kay Secretary Art, natulungan nila tayo para po sa pagpapadala ng mga health essentials sa Iloilo City,” Iloilo City Lone District Rep. Jam Baronda shared.

Wrapping up the 4-hour deliberations, Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. and House Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Manuel Jose Dalipe adjourned the briefing stating that the Committee will support the passage of the DOTr’s 2022 budget.

"Like a true valedictorian, delivering his valedictory address splendidly in this Committee on Appropriations, we admire the hard work and determination of the Secretary of Department of Transportation through his stewardship of leading under the Duterte administration, the programs and projects, which spur development in this country,” Congressman Dalipe said.

"Vice Chair Joet Garcia, with this, we truly support the budget of the Department of Transportation,” Dalipe concluded.

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