Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he hopes that development projects being pushed by lawmakers would undergo at least proper planning and consultation with local authorities as well as implementing agencies starting next year and beyond.

Lacson said the country cannot afford to continue wasting billions in unutilized funds in the budget due to “pork”-related corruption.

“Kailangan dumaan sa masusing pagpaplano. Maski mag-‘insert’ ka basta may (The projects should undergo thorough planning. Even if you ‘insert’ funds as long as there is) consultation. Projects should go through thorough planning and consultation,” Lacson said in a recent radio interview.

“Even if a project is ‘inserted’ into the National Expenditure Program (NEP), there is nothing wrong so long as it underwent the proper consultations,” the senator reiterated.

Lacson, chairman of the Partido Reporma, has been known to flag billions of pesos in questionable projects when he scrutinizes the proposed national budget every year.

The senator pointed out that an average of P300-billion a year in the budget from 2011 to 2020 went unused because the projects being pushed by some lawmakers did not materialize since it did not undergo proper planning.

But while lawmakers have the right to pursue amendments to the NEP by inserting their pet projects, there should be no “commissions” involved.

“It’s the right of lawmakers to propose amendments to the NEP. What is bad is that some use their earmarks to get commissions or up to 40 percent. That is the part that is unacceptable,” he said.

“How can agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) implement the projects if they were not consulted?” he pointed out.

Lacson said this is all made worse by the fact that Filipinos are still mired in poverty.

“This practice of commissions is abhorrent. Filipinos are mired in poverty, yet billions of pesos that should go to development projects end up in the pockets of some,” the lawmaker stressed.

Source: Manila Bulletin (