House okays OVP budget in 3 minutes

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It took just 180 seconds for the 2017 budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) to be approved on Tuesday by the House Committee on Appropriations.

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The OVP had requested P428.61 million for its occupant, Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

It said the budget is “lower” partly because of cheaper monthly rent for the Quezon City Reception House where Robredo holds office.

The office said the Coconut Palace remains as the official workplace of the Vice President.

A OVP undersecretary said Robredo had ordered them to save and spend less on trips and appointments with those in the grassroots.

According to him, the Vice President wants only minimal staff to attend important events and that such events must not be held in grand hotels.

Robredo’s budget, the undersecretary said, will focus on providing food security and nutrition, education, women empowerment, rural development and universal healthcare.

Robredo did not appear before the appropriations committee during the budget hearing.
She is on a two-day trip to Pagadian City in Zamboanga and will visit nearby provinces .

Meanwhile, the House appropriations committee took a little longer — 10 minutes — to approve the proposed P19.991-billion budget for the Office of the President (OP).

A hearing on the proposed budget was attended by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and was presented by Rizalina Justol, OP deputy executive secretary for finance and administration.

Justol said the budget is 600 percent higher than the previous one because 77 percent of it would be allotted for hosting the 50th anniversary of the Asean in 2017.

The P2-billion presidential budget for intelligence is 300 percent higher than the previous year’s appropriations.
It is allotted for the intensified government campaign against illegal drugs.

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