SENATOR Panfilo M. Lacson, Sr. on Tuesday said an P8-billion fund realigned to the Defense department from the Office of the President for the proposed 2022 budget is worrisome as it was apparently made without consultations.
“The DND (Department of National Defense) and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), they were not part of the planning or how the projects… will be implemented, so we may encounter a problem,” he said during the plenary session.
Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa said that no consultations were made by the House of Representatives, and the Senate adopted the lower house’s adjustments in the defense budget.
Mr. Lacson further noted that the unused appropriations by the department has been averaging P14.61 billion per year, which indicates problems in rolling out programs and projects.
He added that the AFP and the Philippine Army incurred the highest unused appropriations in past years.
Mr. dela Rosa defended that this was caused by challenges in the procurement process.
“There are times when there are no bidders, there are also times when the bidders are disqualified, so that’s the problem,” he said in Filipino.
Meanwhile, other senators also expressed concern on the amount parked by the AFP to the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) and the Philippine International Trading Company (PITC).
“Between the two agencies, a total of about P10 billion of AFP funds is parked in both PITC and PS-DBM,” Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said during the plenary, citing the Commission on Audit report.
The senators requested for a written report containing details of these parked funds to prepare for amendments in the 2022 proposed General Appropriations Bill. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan