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OP budget for 2019 OK’d in 10 minutes

 

By BEN R. RO­SARIO

 

IT took the House Committee on Appropriations a mere 10 minutes to approve the proposed 2019 bud­get of the Office of the President and five minutes more to agree on the Office of the Vice President’s allocation for next year.

But unlike the five-minute dif­ference, the proposed 2019 bud­get for the nation’s most powerful offices are billions apart and glar­ing separated by plus and minus signs.

The panel approved almost in­stantaneously a Php 6,773,939,000 budget for President Duterte’s of­fice, a Php 742,939,000 or 12.32 per­cent increase from the expendi­ture schedule of Php 6,031,010,000.

On the other hand, Vice Presi­dent Leni Robredo, who was pres­ent in yesterday’s budget hearing, was granted a Php 455,853,000 budget for 2019, which is far lower than her request of Php 557,627,000, and a Php 95.137-million drop from the current al­location of Php 550,990,000.

Robredo said the budgetary re­duction will have a negative impact on her office’s livelihood program for the poor and the countryside.

Lending support to the OP bud­get hearing was former President now House Speaker Gloria M. Ar­royo who joined the panel’s quick deliberation.

Nearly all Liberal Party lawmak­ers also came to the budget delib­eration in a show of solid support for Robredo’s personal defense of the OVP budget.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who led the OP’s de­fense of its 2019 allocation, said the biggest expenditure increase is for maintenance and other op­erating expenses at Php 517,411,000 or an 11.09 percent increase from the Php 4,666,661,000 allocation this year. The 2019 MOOE proposal is Php 5,184,072,000.

Personnel service expendi­tures were also adjusted from Php 994,159,000 this year to Php 1,078,204,000 in 2019 or a Php 84,045,000 hike.

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