Senators chide DOTr for ‘low’ disbursements


DESCRIBING the fiscal performance of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as “slow” and “dismal,” senators on a subcommittee level approved on Monday a P120-billion budget for the agency next year.

The amount is 36 percent higher than the P88 billion allocation for 2021, but is P1.5 billion lower than the amount proposed under the General Appropriations Bill and more than P33 billion lower than the National Expenditure Program.

“The agency’s low disbursement rate has always been a point of contention, but we cannot disregard the services that our countrymen need now more than ever as we recover together from the pandemic,” Senator Grace Poe said.

The P120-billion proposed budget will be used to fund six rail projects, 18 airports, 46 ports, and eight road projects,. It also includes salary adjustments for the agency’s employees to comply with the salary standardization program as well as the hiring of more coast guards.

The House of Representatives approved in late September a P151.34-billion budget for the DOTr for 2022.

For his part, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto said the transportation department and its attached agencies failed to properly spend the P88-billion budget for 2021, citing its spending and obligation ratios.

“We are looking at the absorptive capacity and the type of projects that DOTr is undertaking and whether or not they would be able to spend this appropriation,” he said. “It’s not improved—its absorptive capacity is dismal.”

Transportation officials have yet to respond to the BusinessMirror’s request for comments as of writing time.

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