House panel approves OVP budget for 2017 in 3 minutes
THE House of Representatives appropriation committee on Tuesday approved in three minutes the proposed P428.618 million budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for 2017.
READ: Frugal VP presents lower budget for 2017
Among the representatives present, only Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez asked where was Vice President Leni Robredo, who was absent even though she presented the OVP budget before the Senate.
Robredo could not attend the budget hearing due to a conflicting schedule in Pagadian, according to her chief of staff and OVP Undersecretary Philip Francisco Dy, who attended the budget hearing on Robredo’s behalf.
Minority leader Suarez said the majority requested the minority to no longer pose questions about the OVP budget.
It is tradition in Congress to no longer grill the budget of government agencies headed by former members of the House of Representatives. Before being elected as Vice President, Robredo served one term as representative of Camarines Sur.
In an interview after the hearing, Dy said the OVP has a lower 2017 budget, or 14.28 percent lower than the 2016 budget of P500 million, after the OVP cut costs when it moved from the Coconut Palace to the Quezon City Reception House.
“Yung una is lumipat kami sa Quezon city Reception House mula sa Coconut Palace at dahil doon in-expect talaga namin na bumaba ang renta na binabayaran namin buwan-buwan,” Dy said.
“Kami ay nakaka-save ng at least P200,000 per month dahil sa paglipat namin sa QCRH mula sa Coconut Palace. At dahil mas maliit din ang QCRH, pati ang binababayaran namin sa utilities, sa kuryente, bumababa rin,” he added.
Dy said it was also Robredo’s instructions to keep expenses at the minimum in line with her office’s promise to uplift the lives of the poor.
“Pangalawa, kabilin-bilin ni Vice President Robredo na dapat mas matipid kami sa lahat ng aming gastusin sa opisina, lalo na sa kanyang pagbisita sa iba’t ibang lugar, lalo na sa mga laylayan, mga liblib na lugar,” Dy said.
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