The Philippines Bicameral Conference Committee, working on the disagreeing provisions of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill, has adopted the motion of Senator Panfilo Lacson to scrap the budget for dredging activities.
In an unprecedented move, this year’s national budget has zero budget for dredging activities, which Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, described as “a rich source of corruption“.
“Contracts with contractors for dredging activities will not be funded. The reason is: dredging contracts with private contractors are the biggest sources of corruption, and the preferred insertions in the budget by legislators. Billions are allocated for dredging,” Drilon said.
“A major amendment is that there will be no budget for dredging. Because dredging is the rich source of corruption. How can you measure how much cubic meters of mud did you dredge?” Drilon added.
Instead, Drilon said that the budget will be used to fund the purchase of dredging equipment lodged under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“Citing what I did for the Iloilo River, Sen Lacson moved that all the amounts allocated for dredging be used for the purchase of dredging machines. This was adopted by the Bicam,” Drilon continued.
“That’s what we did in Iloilo. We purchased dredging machines so up to now, five years after, we’re still dredging without any additional expense,” he said.
Drilon concluded by saying that henceforth, as a matter of policy, dredging will be done in-house, by DPWH, not by private contractors.