Senate to cut budget of Senate committees

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MANILA, Philippines—The Senate will cut down its expenses starting with its oversight committees, Senate Pro Tempore   Ralph Recto said on Wednesday.

Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto . INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

“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.

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