P2.3-billion OVP budget for 2023 'not yet passed,' lawmaker clarifies

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2022 01:00 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2022 03:07 PM

MANILA — The Office of the Vice President's proposed P2.3-billion budget for 2023 has not been approved yet in the lower chamber, a lawmaker clarified Thursday.

According to Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, the OVP's spending plan will still go through the plenary debates.

"We did not pass the budget of the OVP yesterday. We simply had a briefing during the hearing," she told ANC's "Headstart".

"So, hindi pa po approved. Remember that this will still have to go through the plenary debates and our internal deadline is Oct. 1," added Quimbo, who is senior vice chair of the House appropriations committee.

The House panel on Wednesday swiftly terminated the deliberations of the OVP's proposed 2023 budget, which is 223 percent higher than the P702-million budget of the office this year.

The committee quickly terminated the proceedings as a courtesy to the Vice President.

But Makabayan bloc lawmakers criticized the swift termination of the OVP's budget hearing, calling it a "practice of servility" in the lower chamber.

“Congress should stop this practice of servility to the president and the vice president. It should perform its mandate of guarding the hard-earned funds of the people,” Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro said in a statement.

Castro specifically flagged the unprecedented P500 million confidential funds under the OVP, warning it may pose a national security risk because even the President is not privy on how it would be spent.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas also denounced the move on the House panel's leadership, saying it is a clear disregard for the Filipino people's right to scrutinize the budget of government offices.

The House of Representatives eyes passing the 2023 national budget by Oct. 1.

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