By Maila Ager | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr questioned the nearly P13 billion budget for water supply and low-cost housing of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) next year, saying the agency was not empowered by law to build houses or create water supply.
During Tuesday’s plenary debates on the DILG’s budget, Marcos asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) why it allowed the P12.9 billion allotment to be included in the 2015 national budget.
He said the allocation came from seven fund sources under a 270-page “errata” provision submitted to Congress by the executive department.
But under the local government code, Marcos said, the DILG is “empowered to supervise local government units, and not build houses or manage low-cost housing projects for informal settlers.”
The task to build housing units, he said, belongs to the National Housing Authority (NHA).
It was not also under the DILG’s mandate to create water supply which the senator said is the concern of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) or the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Marcos likewise questioned the P1.003 billion allocation for the DILG under the item “local government performance management-based Challenge for LGUs, saying the local government units or LGUs “are expected to function and give services in an excellent manner and are not to be compensated for doing their basic functions.”
“LGUs are adequately endowed,” said the senator.
He said the P3.143 billion budget of the agency under its PAMANA (or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) program should also be transferred to the DPWH with the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process or OPAPP while the P1.27 billion allocation for its “SALIN Tubig program” would best be allocated to the Local Water Utilities Administration of the DPWH.
Meanwhile, Marcos said, the role of the DILG Secretary is “simply supervision—not control—of provinces, cities and municipalities.”
“He has no technical expertise on water supply or administering low cost houses,” he said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to DILG Secretary Mar Roxas.
“The DILG chief has no technical expertise in low-cost housing, and even if he has, that is not his mandate. That is the responsibility of the National Housing Authority,” said the senator.
Marcos said that instead of managing water supply projects or build houses, Roxas should focus on improving the peace and order situation and homeland security.
He said the DILG chief should also strive towards ensuring that Filipinos feel safe at home, on the streets, in their workplaces and renew their trust to men in uniform.