MANILA, Philippines—The Senate will cut down its expenses starting with its oversight committees, Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said on Wednesday.
“Babawasan natin ang budget ng Senado, iyong paggastos ng Senado (We will reduce the budget of the Senate, the spending of the Senate),” Recto said in an interview with Senate reporters.
“The idea is to be more prudent in spending people’s money. We have to show the way as well,” he said.
Recto noted that more budget is being allocated to numerous congressional oversight committees, each having its own budget. The Senate has 35 oversight committees – 25 were created by laws and 10 by resolutions.
“So maybe we might fund only 20 or 24 of them so that one senator will have one oversight committee. They will get the same budget),” he said, adding that there was nothing in the law that requires the funding of each committee.
Abolishing irrelevant committees, Recto said, would take longer as some of them were created by law.
“You need another law to amend that law. And they will be very subjective. So, the quickest thing to do is not to fund them,” he said.
But if he had his way, Recto said, only “relevant” oversight committees such as on climate change, AFP modernization, and on traffic should be given funding.
Recto clarified that the planned streamlining was not yet final but it was the “direction” at least in the majority bloc, which they will present to the new minority group.
“There will be savings for sure at pantay-pantay na lahat . Wala ng Christmas gifts. Wala ng bonus (everything will be equal. There will be no more Christmas gift. There will be no more bonus),” he said but quickly assured that the bonus for employees will continue.