The six municipalities of the second district of Camarines Sur should now be super cities if their huge share in infrastructure project allocations — allegedly P20 billion in less than five years — were to serve as basis.
This is the assessment made by Probinsyano Ako Partylist Rep. Jose “Bonito” Singson after computing the share of the infrastructure fund that Deputy Speaker Lray Villafuerte was able to corner for his congressional district.
A few days ago, Negros Occidental Rep. Arnolfo Teves decried the alleged disproportionate congressional district allocation Villafuerte and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano have received for their respective legislative territories.
Teves said both Villafuerte and Cayetano cornered billions of pesos in infrastructure allocation for their respective districts.
In his press statement, Singson backed Teves’ accusations against the House leadership, pointing out that the “unequal distribution” of funds “tends to favor the districts of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his close allies.”
Citing budgetary records, Singson said public works allocation for Villafuerte’s district increased more than three- to four-fold since he was named as one of Cayetano’s deputies last year.
Camarines Sur is composed of the municipalities of Gainza, Libmanan, Milaor, Minalabac, Pamplona, Pasacao and San Fernando and has a total population of around 325,000.
“From only P1.43 billion in 2019, the DPWH funds allotted to CamSur’s second district ballooned to P6.76 billion or an increase of 473 percent in 2020,” Singson said.
“Although the allocation for Rep. Villafuerte’s district went down to P4.98 billion under the 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP), such amount is still 348 percent higher than in 2019 when he was not yet deputy speaker,” he added.
According to Singson, Villafuerte’s district gets a total of P11.74 billion in DPWH funds for 2020 and 2021.
The funds are coursed through the DPWH central office and District Engineering Office (DEO).
Singson also noted that the public works allocation for the entire province soared to P12.88 billion in 2020 from only P5.8 billion during the previous year, although half of the amount went to Villafuerte’s district and the remaining half was shared by four other districts.
“Well, it is not a surprise that the province gets a generous share of the public works funds because the governor is the son of the deputy speaker,” Singson pointed out.
The opposition solon added: “This explains why the provincial government will be able to build several multi-million infrastructure projects, including a P250-million sports complex, the P600-million CamSur Expressway and Phase 1 of the ‘Iconic Capitol Building’ amounting to P500 million.”
“If that is not a reward for being a Cayetano loyalist, I don’t know what it is,” Singson said.
During the 17th Congress, Villafuerte also found himself in trouble with the Committee on Appropriations during the term of former president and then Speaker Gloria Macapagal –Arroyo.
Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., then chairman of the House panel, disclosed that the incumbent deputy speaker was able to amass over P8 billion for his congressional district, to the disadvantage of most members of the Lower House.