CamSur solon cites 'precedence' in defense of funding for capitol building

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2020 12:24 PM

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House Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. said Tuesday there has been "a lot of precedence" in the national government funding infrastructure for provinces. 

The national government next year is set to shoulder the construction of a P420-million provincial capitol in his district in Camarines Sur. Villafuerte's son Migz is currently governor in the province. 

The province's current capitol building was funded in 1978 by the national government, too. The structure is now "dilapidated" and was declared some 6 years ago as unsafe during earthquakes, said Villafuerte. 

"There’s already been a lot of precedence in the national government funding capitol buildings... Hindi talaga kaya ng provincial government to fund a capitol, especially now [during a pandemic]," he told ANC. 

(The provincial government cannot afford to fund a capitol.)

"It’s transparent, the plans are there. It cannot be called parked [funds] because it is clearly in the budget, what is it for, what is the amount," he added. 

Villafuerte's district is getting around P3.3 billion under the proposed budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways next year. 

The funding covers projects that were discontinued this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and 2 programs that President Rodrigo Duterte approved, namely the Camarines Sur expressway and a coastal highway that will connect 4 towns, said the lawmaker. 

"The district really deserves that amount kasi if you will look at the past 10 years, ang liit talaga ng allocation d’yan (the allocation there is really small) despite the fact that we are the rice granary of Bicol, we are the catch basin of the river," Villafuerte said. 
 
ANC, Sept. 22, 2020