MANILA— The Senate sub-committee on finance on Tuesday approved the Office of the Vice President's (OVP) proposed budget for 2022, with some senators willing to increase the allocation up to P1 billion.
During the panel's hearing, Vice President Leni Robredo presented their spending plan for 2022, noting it is 21 percent less than their current 2021 funding of P908.79 million.
"For 2022 the proposed budget is P714.56 million, of the proposed budget next year, the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) recommended the amount of P713.41 million, which is 21 percent lower than the 2021 appropriation," Robredo said, attending virtually.
The OVP's disbursement rate is over 50 percent, said Robredo.
This prompted Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to recommend an increase to the OVP's budget, citing her efforts to help communities during the pandemic.
"I would like to think that there should be no strong objection from any member of the Senate on the restoration of P223 million," Drilon said.
Drilon was pertaining to the disparity between the OVP's 2021 and 2022 allocations.
Sen. Sonny Angara, the chamber's finance panel chair, agreed to Drilon's proposal.
"In the past years the Senate looked kindly upon the budget of the vice president, she has many supporters in the chamber and seeing how she has utilized the budget... In fact the House said they want to increase the OVP budget to a billion, which I think is not an unreasonable goal," Angara said.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri backed the plan.
"I'm here to give the full support to the budget of the OVP and if we can give as much as we can, bitin 'yung P1 billion, puwede pa nating dagdagan, you will have my full support in the floor," Zubiri said.
"So kung P1 billion kailangan ni ma'am Leni bigay natin sa kanya. Nakita naman napakasipag ng ating vice president. All she does is go out and continuously help our kababayans everywhere in the country and I admire her for that even in pandemic she is still out there helping our kababayans," added Zubiri.
Robredo has been lauded for her initiatives during the pandemic, among them the shuttle service for frontliners during the onset of the outbreak in 2020, and her office's partnership with LGUs to host "vaccine express" booths for transportation workers.
The Senate is set to deliberate on the budget at the plenary.
Robredo is known to be mulling a presidential bid in 2022 but has yet to announce her final decision.
—With a report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News