P20-M additional budget for Robredo’s office proposed in Senate
An additional P20 million to fund a nationwide anti-poverty program was proposed in the Senate to augment its P443.95 million budget for 2018.
Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate finance committee, proposed a P20 million additional fund for the Office of the Vice President’s flagship program “Angat Buhay.” The P20 million will be allocated to the OVP on top of the P177 million budget for its operations and subsidies.
Vice President Leni Robredo’s office has been facilitating an anti-poverty project called “Angat Buhay,” linking public and private entities to poor communities to provide support for the latter.
The OVP aims to meet inadequacies in areas of food security and nutrition, education, health care, rural development and women empowerment in its 143 beneficiary communities, which are considered among the poorest, smallest and farthest communities in the country.
During the plenary debates, Legarda said she would be “happy” to amend the budget so the government can allocate funds for the OVP’s poverty programs.
“If I’m hearing that we should fund the Angat Buhay program as the vice president goes around the country, then I’d be happy to amend the budget,” she said
Majority floor leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III approved and vowed that: “in the period of amendments we’ll make sure we’ll incorporate that.”
In an ambush interview, Robredo said the additional P20 million was an unexpected move.
Granted with additional budget, the vice president said her office will no longer depend solely on private partnerships.
“‘Yung P20 million pwede na kami mag-spend para doon. Ngayon kasi, nakakaspend lang for operations pero ‘yung program itself, umaasa kami sa private partnerships so ngayon ‘yung P20 million kahit siya konti, ang laking budget na for us kasi hindi na kami totally dependent sa kanila,” she said.
“During the committee hearing, tinanong nila, ‘Hindi niyo ba kailangan ‘yung dagdag na budget?’ Syempre kami parating kailangan, parang ‘yung biro ko sa kanila kung pagaawayan, ‘wag na lang pero mukang wala namang opposition ‘yung iba,” Robredo said. /je
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