Only last week, the proposed P8.2 billion budget of the Office of the President was approved by the Senate finance subcommittee led by President Duterte’s former aide, Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go, in just 10 minutes.
After a presentation led by Vice President Leni Robredo, the budget was approved upon the motion of Senate Majority Floor Leader Migz Zubiri, who moved that this be done “without prejudice to increasing it.”
Robredo welcomed the move of the Senate panel, saying this will help improve her office’s anti-poverty initiatives.
The panel also congratulated Robredo and her staff for the work they have been doing to assist poor communities around the Philippines, notably through their flagship program, Angat Buhay.
Sen. Angara said the panel will “at the very least, protect” the OVP’s proposed budget in the next steps of deliberations.
“At the very least, we will protect your budget, but I am sure many of us would even want to increase it, given the demands of your office. Napakalaki po ng mandato, ang laki rin po ng expectations ng mga tao, so we have to deal with all these things,” said.
Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, compared Robredo to former President Diosdado Macapagal who, while serving as vice president of President Carlos Garcia in the late 50s, also travelled to the countryside, helping the needy. He eventually won the presidency, which he said could happen to Robredo.
Robredo downplayed comparison, saying she goes to far-flung areas in need of public services but will not bring her a lot of votes come election time.
“I think it will be detrimental to our programs if I think of 2022. Because if I think of 2022, I will not be going to far-flung areas that are not heavily populated areas,” she added.