Because of its inability to spend its budget, the Department of Transportation’s (DOTR) proposed allocation for 2021 was slashed by the Senate to the tune of P49 billion to P94 billion from the original P143 billion.
Instead, the P49 billion will be reallocated for the purchase of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) next year, according to Senator Grace Poe.
In what can be seen as a slap on the face of DOTR Secretary Arthur Tugade, Poe remarked the agency has demonstrated that it cannot spend its budget allocations.
The DOTR “has a track record of having difficulty utilizing or absorbing their budget and actually spending it,” Poe said before the Senate hearings on the agency’s budget last month.
And in a television interview on Tuesday, Poe said: “We trimmed it down to about P94 billion. That’s how much we took out (from DOTR’s budget).”
“The reason [for this] is most of those projects that they lodged in the DOTR was for rail and seeing the face of what they needed for that, and the demand on other things, like Covid response, we thought that the DOTR won’t be able to spend it anyway next year,” she added.
The Senate is eyeing P83 billion for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines next year that will be enough to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos. SOVEREIGNPH