Senate seen to increase budget for Robredo's office

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Senate seen to increase budget for Robredo's office
In this handout photo, Vice President Leni Robredo leaves the Session Hall of the Batasan Pambansa after the House of Representatives' appropriations panel speedily passed the proposed budget of the Office of the Vice President for 2022.
Office of the Vice President

MANILA, Philippines — Senators pledged Tuesday to increase the 2022 budget for the office of Vice President Leni Robredo, which they praised for its programs that responded to the needs of the people during the pandemic.

Senate finance committee chair Sen. Sonny Angara said there is support across party lines to increase the budget of the Office of the Vice President, which is only allotted P713.41 million in the National Expenditure Program.

Angara and Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri referenced the push of some lawmakers in the House of Representatives to increase the OVP’s budget to at least P1 billion, with the Senate finance panel chair saying this is “not an unreasonable goal.”

“Kung P1 billion po ang kailangan ni Ma’am Leni, bigay po natin sa kanya. Nakita naman po natin na napakasipag ng ating vice president. All she does is go out and continuously help out our kababayans all over the country and I admire her for that,” Zubiri said.

(If Ma’am Leni needs P1 billion, let’s give it to her. We saw how our vice president is very zealous.)

Among the responses of the OVP to the pandemic are the local production of personal protective equipment, the provision of transportation and accommodation to healthcare workers, free teleconsultations, and the vaccination of essential workers in partnership with local governments.

The OVP originally proposed a P714.56-million budget for next year, but the Department of Budget and Management slashed this by around P1 million.

The proposed budget for the OVP in 2022 is 22% lower than its funding under this year’s budget, where it received P908.79 million. Lawmakers had also pushed for a substantial increase in the OVP’s budget this year.

Like the House appropriations panel, the Senate finance panel swiftly referred the OVP’s budget for plenary deliberations.

Robredo, the de facto leader of the opposition, is considering a run for the presidency, provided that she is picked by a unison of political forces against the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Less than two weeks before the filing of candidacies, a clear united opposition has yet to surface, although opposition coalition 1Sambayan and Robredo have been working separately to build unity within the vast anti-administration field.

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