Senate panel OKs proposed OVP’s P673.02M budget for 2020
MANILA, Philippines — Without prejudice to increasing the budget for the Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Senate finance subcommittee swiftly approved on Monday its proposed P673.02 million budget for 2020.
“At the very least we will protect your budget but I’m sure many of us would even want to increase it, given the demands of your office, napakalaki po ng mandato, ang laki rin po ng expectations ng tao, so we have to deal with all these things,” Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the finance committee, told Vice President Leni Robredo.
Before this, Robredo gave the senators an overview of her office’s programs and projects.
One of said projects is the OVP’s flagship program “Angat Buhay.”
According to Robredo, the said program has already adopted 193 communities.
She said that the “Angat Buhay” program, which links public and private entities to poor communities, started out with adopting 50 communities chosen from the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the Philippines.
Robredo also mentioned launching “Ahon Laylayan” coalitions which seek to support her office’s “Angat Buhay” program.
“We are very concerned of the sustainability of our programs and we felt that it was necessary to organize the sectors so that they will be our partners on the ground and ensure the sustainability of our programs beyond 2022,” she told senators.
“We also launched ‘Storya ng Pagasa’…a program where we highlight inspiring stories of individuals,” she added.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, noted that there was no allocated budget for the OVP’s policy section.
Drilon said it was “necessary that the office be equipped with knowledge of the various policy issues.”
“Being the Vice President and just a breath away from the presidency, I think it is needed,” Drilon pointed out.
“It’s just a matter of policy and preparation that we should have a unit for that purpose and in that regard if the Vice President can submit some additional requirements, we would be more than willing to look at it and consider it,” he added.
In response to this, Robredo said her office’s policy unit is currently headed by a consultant “because we could not afford the salary grade of the one who heads it.”
“It’s a four-man team but most of the staff are job order employees, so if the committee would agree to [us] submitting a proposal, that would be a big addition to our office,” she added.
Angara immediately welcomed Robredo’s suggestion.
“That’s a very welcome development because I think yung point ni Senator Frank is we need to institutionalize these things in the Office of the Vice President,” he said.
“The motion is carried and we will favorably endorse without prejudice to increasing but not decreasing the budget of the Office of the Vice President,” he added. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.