Done in 2 minutes! House panel approves 2018 budget for Robredo's office
MANILA, Philippines – With no questions asked, the House appropriations committee approved the proposed P443.946 million budget for 2018 of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) on Tuesday, August 15.
Panel chairperson Karlo Nograles first greeted Vice President Leni Robredo, her chief of staff and Undersecretary Philip Dy, and other OVP officials.
Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, Robredo’s party mate at the Liberal Party, then moved for the committee to dispense with the presentation and proceed with the approval.
The panel unanimously approved the OVP budget, with the whole hearing lasting for only two minutes.
"Even if we were ready to defend the budget, we are still thankful they dispensed with the presentation. We sort of took this as a sign that the committee trusts the appropriations for the Office of the Vice President," Robredo told reporters in Filipino after the hearing.
Traditionally, the budget proposals of the OVP as well as the Office of the President breeze through the House appropriations panel. Lawmakers tend to ask questions at the plenary debates.
The OVP’s proposed budget for 2018 is about 3% higher than its budget of P428.618 million for 2017. Robredo credited the increase to the hiring of additional OVP personnel.
“Our increase in the budget was caused by the capital outlay and the personnel service. When I entered into office, there were a lot of positions that were created but weren’t filled up. So we filled them up. We saved a lot,” said Robredo.
She noted, however, that there was a 2.32% decrease in the OVP’s maintenance and other operating expenses.
Dy said this is because Robredo wants her office to be more thrifty in spending for out-of-town trips.
"One of the orders of the VP is to make sure we are very prudent in our spending on travels, so that means we should only have the right number of staff and the right number of trips. That’s why our projection for the travelling expenses decreased,” said Dy.
P91M raised for Angat Buhay
Given its low budget, the OVP does not subsidize Robredo's flagship anti-poverty program Angat Bahay. Instead, the OVP acts as a mediator between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local government units (LGUs) to provide assistance to families in need.
In the past year, the OVP helped mobilize P91 million that benefitted around 75,038 families.
Under Angat Buhay, the OVP helped NGOs and LGUs allot P24.475 million for livelihood opportunities for 6,618 families. Another 19,264 families benefited from P16.145 million in scholarships, infrastructure development for schools, and school supplies.
The OVP also helped mobilize P8.457 million for feeding programs and P2.085 million for surgical, dental, and medical missions as well as reproductive health programs.
For housing and resettlement, P1.565 million was utilized to assist 1,933 families in accessing safe and potable water as well as solar kits and panels.
The Angat Buhay program mobilized another P38.273 million for the disaster relief and rehabilitation of 37,687 families. – Rappler.com