APART from having the P443.9-million proposed budget for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) that was submitted for approval, the Senate also agreed on Monday to allot an additional P20 million for its anti-poverty program.
It was Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd who proposed a P20-million appropriation for the Angat Buhay program of Vice President Eleanor “Leni” Robredo after learning that it did not have any allocation.
During the deliberation on the OVP budget, Sotto asked about the budget for the nationwide anti-poverty program of the vice president, which was launched in 2016.
Sen. Loren Legarda, finance chairman, told Sotto that there was P177.6 million for subsidies and operating expenses for the implementation of the Angat Buhay program.
Sotto said, however, that the figure was only for the personal services and operational expenses and did not include the budget for the program itself.
“Apparently the Office of the Vice President did not submit in its national expenditure program a specific line item provision for Angat buhay and if I’m hearing that we should fund the Angat Buhay as the vice president goes around the country, then I would be willing to amend the budget,” Legarda said.
“Precisely that was [what]I’m thinking that is why I’m asking… Would you say P20 million, would be enough Mr. President?” Sotto asked.
Robredo, in an interview after attending the budget deliberation, said the allocation would be a big help for her office, which is currently being partly funded by the private sector.
“Angat Buhay is a partnership with the private sector, that is why we depend on the private sector,” she said.
With the new funding, Robredo said, her office could now spend for the program itself so as not to be too dependent on the private sector.
Angat Buhay is an anti-poverty program of the vice president focused on six pillars—food security and nutrition; housing, rural development, women empowerment, universal health care, and education.
It started with 50 poor communities but was now serving 143 all over the country.
“The plan is to expand to other communities but as of now we have 143 communities,” Robredo added. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA