P8.25-B budget for Office of the President gets nod
It took only about five minutes for House representatives to approve the intelligence and confidential funds of the Office of the President (OP) for 2020 which total P4.5 billion.
It’s become “tradition” not to question the allocations of agency heads who were once congressmen, said Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chair of the House appropriations committee.
President Rodrigo Duterte represented Davao City’s first district from 1998 to 2001.
Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay also made the motion to approve the OP budget unopposed as part of traditional courtesy.
At P8.25 billion, the OP’s 2020 budget is 21 percent higher than its current allocation of P6.77 billion, though it is dwarfed by the P20.17 billion budget it had in 2017, mostly for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
At least two congressmen—Rep. Carlos Zarate and Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, both of Bayan Muna—said they wantto question the appropriation during the plenary session.
Zarate questioned the propriety of the huge allocation considering budgetary cuts in social services, while Gaite expressed concern that confidential funds and intelligence funds were almost double those in 2018 and 2019.
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