2023 budgets of COA, Ombudsman up for plenary debates | Inquirer News

2023 budgets of COA, Ombudsman up for plenary debates

/ 01:03 PM September 27, 2022
The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) has been called out for hiring pricey consultants last year, including those whom state auditors have deemed “unnecessary” and “not essential,” for a total of P8.21 million—way exceeding the agency’s budget of P300,000 for consultancy services.

Logo and facade of the Commission on Audit (COA) building.

MANILA, Philippines — The 2023 budgets of the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman have been submitted for plenary debates on Tuesday.

The Senate committee on finance, chaired by Senator Sonny Angara, deliberated the 2023 budgets of COA and the Ombudsman amounting to P13.8 billion and P4.781 billion, respectively.

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COA’s budget under the National Expenditure Program is 5 percent lower than its proposed budget of P14.5 million.

READ: In just under 10 minutes, Senate panel OKs COA’s P14.46B budget

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The agency’s proposed allocation for personnel services and maintenance and other operating expenses were trimmed.

“That is why we are requesting this honorable committee na kung pwede po sana ay ma-restore po ‘yung nawala po sa amin na P723 million,” COA Commissioner Roland Pondoc told senators.

(That is why we are requesting this honorable committee, if possible, to restore the P723-million budget cut.)

Angara noted that the Senate worked on increasing COA’s budget in the past years.

“We acknowledge your request and also to place in the record that this committee, the Senate, has increased the COA budget for the last four years and probably even longer,” the senator said.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman’s P4.781-billion budget for 2023 is the same as its budget for this year.

While the Ombudsman seeks a budget increase of about P6 billion, they understand that it will not be granted due to the country’s current situation.

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“I must be honest with you, Your Honors, I understand the present predicament of our country, of our government,” Ombudsman Samuel Martires said.

“If it will be hard for the appropriations committee to give us an additional budget of what we have been asking, about P6 [billion], just to maintain the P4.[7] billion that we’re given this year, we’ll be happy for that,” he added.

Likewise, Angara pointed out that the Ombudsman’s budget has increased in the past four years in the Congress’s upper chamber.

Senator Nancy Binay moved to approve for plenary deliberations both the budgets of COA and the Ombudsman.

Angara concurred as no one objected and said that their budgets would be recommended to plenary debates “without prejudice to any possible increases.”

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TAGS: 2023 budget, Commission On Audit, Office of the Ombudsman, Senate budget deliberations
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