At House plenary, lawmakers vow to increase 'measly' OVP budget in 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Vice President (OVP) got more support from lawmakers to increase its proposed P673-million budget for 2020. 

During the House of Representatives’ plenary deliberations on Wednesday, September 18, Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado said the OVP's "measly budget" would not be enough to fund the anti-poverty efforts of Vice President Leni Robredo.

“We commend the Office of the Vice President for constantly and judiciously engaging in outreach projects covering the most far-flung areas in the country through its Angat Buhay, Ahon Laylayan, and Istorya ng Pag-asa programs. It’s measly budget, however, can hardly tide it over without the help from the private sector,” said Bordado. 

“Here at the House, I expressed my support to the manifestation made by Representative Rufus Rodriguez at the committee level to augment the budget of the Office of the Vice President,” added the congressman, Robredo's party mate at the Liberal Party.

Rodriguez, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative, said during the House committee on appropriations hearing on August 27 that he would move to increase the OVP budget during the period of amendments for the 2020 General Appropriations Bill in the House plenary.  

Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago also said she would “exhaust all means” so the OVP would get higher funding next year, particularly for Istorya ng Pag-asa, a program that aims to collect and document stories of hope and triumph of ordinary Filipinos.

“This youth representation would also want to express our commitment to exhaust all means to augment the budget of the VP in support of its project Istorya ng Pag-asa, which provided the needed deep well of inspiration for all the young Filipinos, to realize their historic and significant role as the hope of our land, and their role likewise in nation-buidling,” said Elago.

After Elago’s manifestation, Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Christopher Belmonte and Pangasinan 4th District Representative Christopher de Venecia moved to terminate the plenary debates on the OVP budget. The plenary accepted their motions. 

Robredo was at the plenary hall but was unable to grant reporters' request for an interview as she had a sore throat.

The OVP is proposing a P673-million budget for 2020, a bulk of which would help fund Angat Buhay, Robredo’s flagship anti-poverty program.

Given its low budget, the OVP does not fully subsidize Angat Buhay and links communities with private companies and non-governmental organizations that can provide assistance to families in need. 

Robredo’s chief of staff, Undersecretary Philip Dy, welcomed the lawmakers’ promise to increase the OVP’s budget in 2020. (READ: Senate panel wants bigger 2020 budget for OVP)

“Unang-una, kami ay nagpapasalamat sa ngalan ng tanggapan ng Pangalawang Pangulo at ni Pangalawang Pangulong Leni Robredo, na may ganitong pinapakitang suporta ang ibang mga kongresista patungkol sa budget ng Office of the Vice President,” said Dy. 

(First, we are giving thanks in behalf of the Office of the Vice President and Vice President Leni Robredo that there is this kind of show of support from other lawmakers regarding the budget of the Office of the Vice President.) 

He assured lawmakers that the additional funds – no matter the amount – would go to Robredo’s anti-poverty program. 

The Senate finance committee chaired by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara had also promised to endorse a bigger 2020 budget for the OVP.  

Among offices, the OVP has the smallest increase in funds in the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 budget at P1.47 million (0.22%) from P671.55 million in 2019. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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