Senators on Tuesday crossed party lines to support a bigger budget for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) next year.
Around P713.41 million has been allocated for the OVP under the National Expenditure Program that was submitted by the Department of Budget and Management to Congress last month.
This is 21.5% lower than the OVP’s current budget of P908.79 million, and slightly below the OVP’s proposal of P714.56 million.
However, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, and Sonny Angara said the OVP’s budget should be increased as they praised Vice President Leni Robredo’s handling of funds and initiatives to support the country’s pandemic response.
Angara, chairperson of the Senate finance committee, said the proposal of some congressmen of a P1-billion budget for the OVP was “not an unreasonable goal.”
“Kung P1 billion po ang kailangan ni Ma’am Leni, ibigay po natin sa kanya. Nakita naman natin na napakasipag ng ating Vice President,” Zubiri said during the OVP’s budget briefing.
(If Ma’am Leni needs P1 billion for her office, then we should give it to her. We have seen how hardworking the Vice President is.)
“We will refer the budget of the Office of the Vice President favorably to the plenary with increases still to be determined at this point,” added Angara.
Robredo, who attended the virtual hearing, thanked the Senate for its assistance to the OVP over the years.
“The additional support coming from the Senate has always been very valuable for us especially as we are doing all the COVID-19 response initiatives. It has allowed us to pursue many initiatives and it has proven to be very helpful to those going through the difficulties of the pandemic,” she said. –KG, GMA News