Palace insists: Bigger budget for Duterte’s office needed to ‘secure’ PH
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has justified anew its proposal for an increased budget of the Office of the President (OP) next year.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Tuesday that OP’s augmented 2020 budget was necessary to secure the Philippines from local and foreign threats.
“The Palace reiterates that the increase in the budget of the Office of the President, where the seat of power and supremacy in governance lies, is necessary in order to provide efficient, meaningful and effective public service to the Filipino people,” Panelo said in a statement.
In the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, OP asked for a budget of P8.2 billion, which was P1.5 billion higher than the budget it has for 2019.
Of the P8.2 billion, OP earmarked P6.7 billion for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), P1.1 billion for personnel services, and P427 million for capital outlay.
Under the P6.7 billion MOOE budget, OP’s confidential and intelligence expenses got the biggest share at P2.25 billion each or P4.5 billion in total.
“The additional amount is also necessary to secure the country from threats coming from sources within and (outside) the country,” Panelo asserted.
He further said that “in times of national emergencies and calamities, coupled with cries for help from all walks of life, and when the departments and agencies that provide basic services or responses to the public run short of funds, the OP steps in to extend a helping hand and augment whatever shortage there may be in delivering the requisite assistance.”
“The intensified efforts of this government, with the Office of the President at the helm, against criminality and various perils against the Philippines’ security and sovereignty,” he said, “have indeed created a changed environment in our society where the people feel safe as they go about living their daily lives. We intend to maintain such an environment and even improve it in the remaining years of the Duterte Presidency.”
“As correctly pointed out by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea that while the budget allocation for the Office of the President during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III was significantly lower, its achievements and accomplishments are nonetheless commensurate thereto in that there was little to no substantial improvement in governance,” he added.
Panelo then touted that “the people have seen and experienced in the three years of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s presidency, an unprecedented success in many fronts, especially in the aspect of law and order, as well as in the overall public administration of the government.”
He also noted that “the unparalleled approval rating by the Filipino people in favor of this Administration is proof of these accomplishments.”
“We recall that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, during last year’s budget hearing was asked if PhP2.5B was enough for the Office of the President, and he categorically answered that it should be substantially increased as it was not enough,” he said.
“The Palace seconds the Executive Secretary’s position on the matter, knowing that with the strong resolve of the President to pursue programs and policies that will finally bring genuine change to the nation, we will need the necessary financial support,” he added. /kga
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