Senators have expressed their support for an increased budget for the Office of the Vice President.
Vice President Leni Robredo herself appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance via videoconference, on Wednesday, September 30, to present her office’s initiatives. She noted the OVP’s shift to addressing COVID-19-related needs through various forms of support for frontliners, helping communities in need, providing support for families and teachers in the shift to distance or blended learning, and opening livelihood opportunities for those who may have lost their jobs in the midst of the pandemic.
The OVP initially proposed a budget of P723.39 million, but the Department of Budget and Management recommended only P679.74 million for 2021, a cut to the P708.02 million that the office received in 2020.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon moved to reinstate the OVP’s original proposed budget—unanimously supported by senators present at the hearing.
In addition, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said: “[B]ased on the COA reports, and based on the reports of the Vice President, clearly, these resources are put to good use and will definitely go a long way, and will not go to waste… [I]n government, if you see a functioning, working, effective [office], you see, you should give them more, so that they’ll even be more effective.”
Sen. Nancy Binay likewise said she will “wholly support” the increase—a sentiment shared by Sens. Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla.
For his part, the committee’s chair, Sen. Sonny Angara, lauded the efforts of VP Leni’s office, noting that he and his colleagues were one in pushing for more support for the work it has been doing.
“Lahat po ng nagsalita ay in favor of augmenting the Vice President’s budget—and I think she’s very deserving and her programs help many Filipinos,” he said.
Earlier, lawmakers from the House of Representatives praised VP Leni and her office for its efforts, and called for an increase to the OVP’s budget, in order to further support its initiatives for Filipinos in need, especially amid the continued effects of the COVID-19 crisis.