Senate panel OKs P8 billion budget of OP

24-Sep-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The Senate finance committee swiftly passed yesterday the proposed P8.1 billion budget of the Office of the President (OP) despite repeated attacks on the chamber by President Duterte over senators’ investigation into alleged corruption in his administration.

The OP proposed P8.182 billion for its operations, including P5.143 billion for the Presidential Oversight Programme, P916 million for Presidential Executive Staff Services Programme, P85 million for Presidential Legal and Legislative Services Programme and P84 million for Presidential Advisory Programme.

The Presidential Management Staff has proposed a budget of P751.1 million for 2022.

The OP also asked for P4.5 billion for its confidential and intelligence budget for 2002, unchanged from this year.

Upon questioning from Sen. Nancy Binay, officials said the OP has spent P2.95 billion of its confidential and intelligence funds this year.

Members of the panel, chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara, however prodded Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who defended the OP budget, to immediately disburse funds for various social and local infrastructure projects authored by members of Congress in the 2021 general Appropriations Act (GAA), amounting to over P100 billion that Duterte tagged as “for later release (FLR)” in signing the GAA in December last year.

Binay and Angara cited, among others, appropriation for Republic Act 11509 or the “Doktor Para sa Bayan Act” that provides for medical scholarships to produce more medical practitioners amid the COVID-19 pandemic that still has no funding released.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Binay pointed out there are only three months left in the fiscal year and the urgent projects remain unfunded.

Binay said this meant over P100 billion worth of roads and bridges as well as scholarships and medical assistance that Filipinos and businesses should be benefiting from are all absent.

“We all know that these projects can generate a lot of jobs that our countrymen really need right now,” Binay told Medialdea.

“It would be difficult for me to shepherd the budget (in plenary) when there are questions like these that hound us all the time. As a matter of fact, it is becoming more difficult for us right now to push things forward because of these questions,” Zubiri said. billion-budget-op


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