Speaker removed funds for Davao Norte: AGR

Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony G. Del Rosario / Edge Davao File Photo
Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony G. Del Rosario / Edge Davao File Photo

Anthony G. Del Rosario on Friday accused House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of masterminding the removal of an estimated P500 million funds allotted in the national budget for the concreting of roads in Davao del Norte.

“If he is normal and not vindictive, he (Alvarez) should not have removed the funds for the sake of public service,” Del Rosario, told the provincial Liga ng mga Barangays at the Apo View Hotel.

“But on his instructions, this was removed alongside with those that were meant for Ilocos Norte and Zamboanga del Sur,” said the governor who is also known for his nickname “AGR.” He said the province of Davao del Norte has more than 800 kilometers of road that still need to be paved.

AGR said that in addition, five municipalities of Davao del Norte were excluded from the budget of the DPWH in terms of infrastructure projects.

“This is the first time it happened,” he said.

At the same time, the governor slammed the House Speaker for not honoring his word to meet with Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. in a bid to settle their differences “for the sake of the people of Davao del Norte.”

The governor took the occasion to reveal that his father, former governor Rodolfo Del Rosario, and Tagum Catholic Bishop Wilfredo Manlapaz flew to Manila to facilitate the meeting between Floirendo and Alvarez as arranged by a third party on February 8.

This was preceded by talks through a third party wherein both Floirendo and Alvarez separately indicated their desire to reconcile for the sake of unity.

“But at the scheduled time and place where the bishop and the former governor were waiting, a messenger of Alvarez showed up to deliver a message that the Speaker could not make it because he was supposedly in Agusan,”he said. “Yet the week before this meeting, the speaker confirmed he would show up.”

‘Way batasan,’ Del Rosario said. “He has no manners.”

He recalled that it was Tonyboy Floirendo who had been providing financial support to Alvarez when he ran for congressman in the first district during the 2016 election.

“I witnessed him coming almost weekly to ask Tonyboy for funds,” he said. “And as far as I can recall, Tonyboy never turned him down.”

“It struck me that one who had barely the funds to run for Congress in 2016 can suddenly spend P22 million for a week-long birthday celebration this January,” he added.

He said that before 2016, he personally does not know anything about Alvarez. “It was only when he kept asking for funds from Tonyboy that I got to know him.”

He said the House Speaker has also been excluding him from provincial events such as that the February 17 ground breaking ceremonies of a mini-hospital funded by the Department of Health in San Isidro municipality, when the Speaker instructed hospital officials not to invite the governor.

“He showed up only to accuse me of anomalies on DPWH projects,” he said. “I discovered later that several PDP-Laban mayors have been actually seen lining up the DPWH.”