Senate panel OKs lower budget for Binay’s office
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committee on finance on Tuesday approved the proposed P222-million budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).
No single member of the committee except its chairman, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, was present when the body approved the OVP’s budget sans Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The OVP instead sent Binay’s chief of staff, Undersecretary Benjamin Martinez Jr., to defend the budget before the committee.
Martinez said the OVP was proposing a P231-million budget for 2015 but it was reduced to P222.6 million by the Department of Budget and Management.
“It’s small considering sa dami ho ng pumupunta sa amin na nanghihingi so we try to adjust really and we try to ask the help of some line agencies filling up the requests specially for hard projects…,” he said after the hearing.
While the reduced budget was still 2.46 percent higher than the current P217-million appropriation, Martinez said it was below the “level of increase” that he said that should be given to the OVP.
“We actually increased by 2.46 percent. Correct me if I’m wrong pero sa totoo lang ang level dapat ng increase ng DBM sa amin is around 3.5 percent to 4 percent ang level ng increase but we’re actually below that,” he pointed out.
Asked if the budget cut could have been politically motivated, Martinez said: “Siguro ayaw ko nang lagyan ng pulitika muna itong mga nangyayaring ito. I know if you will compare it with other offices, people might have different interpretations.”
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