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Budgets of OVP, Congress hiked, solon bares

Mike Defensor
Mike Defensor

ANAKALUSUGAN party-list Rep. Mike Defensor revealed that the budget of Congress as well as the budget of the Office of the Vice President were augmented under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

The OVP’s budget was increased by P229 million raising it to P900 million.

While the two Chambers’ (Senate and House of Representatives) funds were supplemented by P1 billion each, bringing the combined funding to P28.5 billion.

The 2021 national budget amounting to P4.5 trillion is expected to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte anytime today.

However, the Palace said that there are some provisions, particularly infrastructure projects, that will be vetoed.

According to Defensor, there is no additional budget for the procurement of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

“None of that amount was added to the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines that will save lives and livelihood, revive the economy and return the country to pre-pandemic normality,” he said.

Defensor stressed that the increases for Robredo’s office and for the House of Representatives and the Senate were part of the P183 billion in realignments the two chambers made in the “programmed” or tax-funded portion of the budget.

The legislature retained the outlay for the Office of the President at P8.2 billion.

He added that the P229-million augmentation Robredo is getting will most likely go to her “financial assistance/subsidy” allocation, which is the equivalent of a lawmaker’s pork barrel, and to the purchase of six new vehicles.

The vaccine acquisition fund was maintained at P2.5 billion as proposed by Malacañang.

“They augmented it by P72 billion, but this was relegated to the ‘un-programmed’ part of the budget that could be used only if there is excess tax revenue, a new tax or a loan,” he added.

Defensor noted that the administration’s economic managers are eyeing borrowings to finance vaccine procurement.

“We could have funded this from taxes instead of relying on lenders for money to buy badly-needed vaccines,” he said.

Publication Source :    People's Journal