WITHOUT much further questions, the budget of the Office of Vice President (OVP) easily got the approval of the members of the House committee on appropriations.
Vice President Sara Duterte was present during the seven-minute deliberation to which she expressed gratitude to the lawmakers for giving the OVP a chance to serve better and efficiently with this proposed budget.
The OVP budget for 2023 was pegged at P2.305 billion or 223 percent higher than this year’s 709.38 million.
The increase in budget level is for the expansion of projects and implementation of socio-economic programs such as the medical and burial assistance; Libreng Sakay; PagbaBAGo Campaign; Kalusugan Food Trucks; Peace 911; Magnegosyo Ta Day; Disaster Operations and Relief Packs; and OVP food boxes.
It was Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan who moved to terminate the budget deliberations as a courtesy to the Vice President.
Duterte won the vice presidential race in the 2022 national elections after garnering more than 32 million votes.
Libanan’s motion was seconded by Majority Floor Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe.
Speaker Martin Romualdez was also present during the OVP budget hearing. It can be recalled that Romualdez was the campaign manager of Duterte during the 2022 elections. They are both top officials of the Lakas-CMD.
The Vice President also paid courtesy call to the Office of the Speaker.
“Salamat, Vice President Inday Sara Duterte, sa pagbisita dito sa amin sa Office of the Speaker. Malaking karangalan na makasama sa paglalakbay mo sa larangan ng serbisyo publiko,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez commended Duterte for exhibiting exemplary brand of leadership by showing up at the House Committee of Appropriations hearing to defend the budget of the OVP and the Department of Education (DepEd).
“Umasa kayo na katulong ninyo kaming mga mambabatas sa 19th Congress sa paghahanap ng sapat na pondo para sa mga programa at proyekto ng OVP at DepEd Philippines na magpapataas ng kalidad ng pamumuhay ng mga kababayan nating Pilipino,” the Speaker added.
USE OF CHOPPER
Meanwhile, the camp of the Vice President described as “fake” the news circulating that Duterte is using the government’s plane to bring her home to Davao everyday.
In a separate statement, Duterte’s spokesperson Atty Reynold Munsayac said that Duterte and her family are already settled in Manila for her to fulfill her duties as Vice President and Secretary of DepEd.
“Fake news po yang araw-araw na gumagamit ng chopper para ihatid sa Davao kagaya ng inilalabas sa media. Manila based na po sa ngayon si VP Sara Duterte at ang family niya. Dito na din po nag-aaral ang mga anak niya,” Munsayac said.
“ Land vehicles din po ang ginagamit nila araw-araw. Ginagamit lang po ang chopper kapag kailangan sa official work and functions, based sa lugar na pupuntahan at urgency of schedule,” he added.
Munsayac also assured public that Duterte always protects the government resources.
“Sa history po ng public service ni VP Sara, alam ng lahat ng mga nakasama niya sa trabaho na she is very efficient and she protects government resources at all times,” Munsayac said.