Office of the President's P8.2 B 2020 budget gets swift House OK | Inquirer News
approved in 6 minutes out of 'traditional courtesy'

Office of the President’s P8.2 B 2020 budget gets swift House OK

/ 11:29 AM September 06, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Citing “traditional courtesy,” the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee approved the P8.2 billion proposed 2020 budget of the Office of the President (OP) in less than six minutes.

Panel chairman and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab cited traditional courtesy given to co-equal branches of the government when it comes to budget deliberations in swiftly approving the appropriations for President Rodrigo Duterte’s office.

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He said the same courtesy was accorded to the Office of the Vice President, the judiciary, and constitutional commissions.

Although the approval faced no objection, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite manifested that they would scrutinize the OP’s budget during the plenary deliberations.

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Under the  OP’s proposed budget for next year, some P4.5 billion was earmarked for confidential and intelligence expenses, which several Duterte administration critics had questioned.

READ: Duterte wants intel, confidential funds almost doubled in 2020

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate linked this to a possible nationwide martial law when seen in the context of the P388 billion “war budget” of the administration.

The opposition lawmaker said these funds “would be of better use” if allocated for programs “addressing the social ills that incite armed conflict” such as free land distribution, a living wage and national industrialization.

READ: Zarate blasts gov’t’s P388-B ‘war budget’ for 2020

The OP’s budget jumped by 21 percent compared to its 2019 budget of P6.8 billion.

81 percent or P6.7 billion of the OP’s 2020 budget was earmarked for operations, specifically its presidential oversight, advisory, legal and legislative services, and executive staff services programs.

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The rest would go to the general administration and support for the office which includes retirement and life insurance premium and pension.

The total national budget proposed for 2020 is P4.1 trillion. /gsg

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TAGS: 2020 national budget, appropriations, House, OP, Rodrigo Duterte
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