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    Presentation of Vice President Leni Robredo House Committee on Appropriations Hearing for the Office of the Vice President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2022

    Presentation of Vice President Leni Robredo House Committee on Appropriations Hearing for the Office of the Vice President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2022

    Thank you very much. With the honor of the members of the House of Representatives who are present here today, aside from Undersecretary Philip Dy and Assistant Secretary Pia Abad, we also have with us all our unit heads—all the unit heads of the Office of the Vice President. May we be allowed to make a short presentation on our programs and projects. Next slide, please.

    At the Office of the Vice President, we always make sure that despite our limited mandate and resources, we are still responsive to the needs on the ground. We exerted all efforts in making sure that we are able to contribute in the best way we can with the challenges before us. Next slide, please.

    Prior to our term, the main public service program that the OVP offers directly to the public is the medical assistance program. During my term from August 2016 to August 2021, the total amount utilized for medical assistance has reached P1.15 billion, serving  87,560 beneficiaries. We currently have 30 partner hospitals and service providers to ensure that our help is made accessible to more indigent and vulnerable Filipinos nationwide. Next slide, please.

    But since 2016, we transformed the office to do more than just provide medical assistance. We launched our flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay, where we partner with private sector organizations so that we can serve more communities in issues spanning universal health care to rural development. To date, we have engaged 346 organizations as partners, mobilizing more than P450 million, which benefited more that 500,000 families and individuals in 223 cities and municipalities. Next slide, please.

    It is the same power of partnerships, which we've nurtured since 2016, that we have harnessed to launch one program after another as the needs evolved due to the pandemic. The OVP COVID-19 Response Initiatives were rolled out as early as March 2020 even before the first lockdown. While some of the initiatives concluded last year, others continued to be implemented in 2021, together with new programs such as the Swab Cab, Bayanihan E-konsulta and Vaccine Express. Iyong nasa slide po is the summary of the programs that we’ve had.

    The first problem that hounded us in the early days of the pandemic was the lack of PPEs for our medical frontliners, which is why we appropriated P5.995 million from our funds for the purchase of PPE sets. But when it became clear that the demand for PPEs will persist, we partnered with our Angat Buhay partner Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership and did a donation drive from March 13 to April 30, 2020. We were able to raise almost P55 million.

    When supply became very difficult during the early months of the pandemic, we pursued a more sustainable alternative by partnering with local designers and health experts in locally producing PPEs, which at the same time doubles as income generation for affected sewers and dressmakers. We partnered with a total of 23 sewing communities from Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Cebu, Lanao del Sur, and Nueva Ecija. 

    From our March 2020 to present, we were able to distribute 561,000 PPE sets and medical supplies, serving 37,420 frontliners, plus an additional 49,276 locally produced PPEs, serving 1,181 frontliners. We were also able to distribute 17,271 food and care packages to 108 institutions. Aside from this, we were able to mobilize P12,975,682 worth of hot meals and food for frontliners and communities, 809 medical institutions and communities were served.

    For transportation for LSIs, we were able to serve 1,797 individuals in partnership with LGUs. We also endorsed 67 LSIs to the Presidential Management Staff to bring home to their provinces. The destination primarily of the LSIs we served were within the Bicol region. Next slide, please.

    Right after public transportation was suspended after the declaration of the first ECQ, we offered free shuttle service, catering to health workers and affected frontliners. This was made possible with the help of Angat Buhay partners and volunteers, such as UBE Express and Diamond Motor Corporation. 

    Shuttle service for frontliners operated in two phases last year. The first phase was during the first ECQ from March 18 to April 14, 2020 while the second phase during the ECQ from August 4 to August18, 2020. All in all, the program served 20,384 passengers. 

    In 2020 also, as we were doing the free shuttle services, free dormitories were also offered to frontliners. A total of 498 frontliners and essential staff were served. We were able to open 12 dorms in Metro Manila with four provincial temporary shelters. Currently, we have one dormitory that remains operational for frontliners and essential staff. 

    Aside from free accommodations, frontliners who were living in our temporary shelters also received other amenities and services, such as WiFi access, hot meals,   service motorcycles, washing machines and dryers, and even haircut services.

    To combat hunger in the poorest communities which were most affected by the pandemic, the OVP allocated P390,000 for the Community Kitchen project. Last year, we were able to provide food to at least 400 individuals in 13 barangays. This year, thanks to the continuous generosity of partners, the initiative continues but has shifted to donations received from various donors.

    To support the livelihood of market vendors and tricycle drivers who were affected by the lockdowns during the early months of the pandemic, the OVP partnered with LGUs and TODA associations to launch Community Mart—an app-based online palengke service. The initiative was launched in three LGUs: First in Kamuning Market in Quezon City, next is in Pasig—sa Pasig Mega Market—and the third LGU we partnered with is Muntinlupa. Until now, the Muntinlupa Public Market Community Mart is still operational. In late 2020, Kamuning Community Mart operations were concluded, while in February of 2021, operations for the Pasig Mega Market were officially turned over to the LGU. Through our Community Mart, a total of close to P31 million in total sales was generated for partner market vendors.  Next slide, please.

    When the surge of cases placed Cebu under ECQ—I think it was July or August of last year—we sent a team to Cebu and replicated our COVID-19 response initiatives in the province. This included free shuttle services for frontliners in the city of Cebu, Mandaue, Naga, Talisay, and in the municipalities of Consolacion and Minglanilla. We also had ferry services from Olango Island and Mactan Island to ferry both frontliners and patients. The office allocated P2.25 million to cover the expenses for assistance to communities and frontliners in the form of relief packs. Next slide, please.

    The OVP also turned over testing kits to support more testing by LGUs and different medical institutions. A total of 54,262 extraction, detection, and antigen testing kits were provided to LGUs like the Provincial Governments of Lanao del Sur and Dinagat Islands and to medical institutions, like Iloilo City COVID-19 Laboratory and Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center.

    For 2021, a total of 1,100 rapid antigen testing kits that were donated to the OVP were turned over to the Philippine Orthopedic Center and the 6th District of Quezon City. 


    Through IKEA and the support of our Angat Buhay partners, architects, engineers, and interior designers, the OVP also put up temporary shelters for frontliners within the premises of the Lung Center of the Philippines, Chinese General Hospital and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, also the Quezon Memorial Medical Center and a triage area at the Manila Doctors Hospital. These were used for general operations of the institutions, such as quarantine facilities and triage centers, or as places where healthcare workers can rest and recharge after their hospital duties.

    To help individuals who lost their livelihood during the pandemic, the OVP launched sikap.ph in September 2020, in partnership with our Angat Buhay partners. Sikap.ph is a jobs matching platform designed to help blue-collar workers, recent college graduates, and returning OFWs get back on their feet. Since the launch, 29,376 job vacancies were posted. Currently, the platform is now populated with 16,716 registered applicants and 396 employers in over 48 locations in the different parts of the country. 

    To support MSMEs, the OVP also launched Bayanihan Mart through iskaparate.com, where we help entrepreneurs build an online presence and increase their income despite the pandemic. This way, they can offer their products and services to a wider market base, and customers can get in touch with them directly to buy their goods. 

    When DepEd announced it will do blended learning, we launched our Bayanihan e-Skwela initiative. It had three components: (1) provision of gadgets to learners in need; (2) production of instructional videos for parents and teachers to cope with distance learning; and (3) the establishment of Community Learning Hubs, or alternative learning spaces. 

    To date, 3,647 gadgets were donated and they provided necessary tools to mostly college students who did not have the capacity to buy gadgets on their own. To help parents and educators cope with the adjustments of blended learning, the OVP partnered with the UP College of Education, 22 production houses and ad agencies and more than 20 celebrities and talents to come up with instructional videos that will guide them through the new modalities. A total of 23 videos were produced, all of which are available in our Bayanihan e-Skwela Facebook and YouTube channels.

    The OVP also set up Community Learning Hubs in 58 locations nationwide. The facility aims to provide learners with a safe and conducive space for learning, where they can have access to necessary tools and equipment like the Internet, and volunteer tutors are ready to guide them with their lessons. 5,696 beneficiaries have been benefitted from our Community Learning Hub services and this is thanks to 832 volunteers who act as our tutors and the generosity of more than 12 partners and organizations. In 2021, an additional 29 expansion are being prepared. Aside from the 29, we have 66 other areas applying as new sites. Of the 58, three are Para-Teachers Program Sites wherein we use an approach wherein tutors go to the homes of the learners to guide them using the modules they got from schools. Our Para-Teachers Program is in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan and in Caloocan City. Next slide, please.

    Due to the pandemic, livelihoods were severely affected. As such, the OVP stepped up its efforts to boost jobs and support livelihoods, through initiatives such as our Sustainable Livelihood and Training program as well as TrabaHOPE. We've invested more resources this year to expand these efforts even more.

    The Sustainable Livelihood and Training program is an OVP initiative that aims to support emerging entrepreneurs in exploring and succeeding in profit-driven ventures that are viable contributions to the communities they belong to. We help individual applicants and civil society organizations like farmer organizations and jeepney driver associations needing help. To date, we have mobilized P1,227,763 for 118 individuals and P10929,224 to 29 CSOs with a total of 1,680 beneficiaries.

    In partnership with the Philippine Business for Education (PBed) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we also launched TrabaHOPE—an initiative to assist out-of-school youth in the country. Trainee-beneficiaries ages 18 to 30 [years old] are enrolled in tech-voc and employability training and are eventually transitioned to on-the-job training with partner companies.

    Focus areas of implementation are Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna. To date, 479 applicants have already been onboarded, 185 of them already completed technical training, and 23 trainees were already hired. We provide the trainees with housing and daily allowances and have already mobilized P1,402,919. Next slide, please.

    When our hospitals where getting congested during the surge in cases last April 2021, we launched our free telemedicine consultation [service] Bayanihan E-Konsulta. The platform is accessible by free data on Facebook and is meant to serve COVID or non-COVID patients who might not need hospitalization but need to talk to a doctor to seek medical advice. 

    Services in the platform include free [teleconsultation], facilitation of RT-PCR and lab tests, delivery of COVID Care Kits, daily monitoring of COVID positive patients, referral to the One Hospital Command Center for emergency cases, referral to LGU for patients outside the NCR Plus Bubble, and mental health consultations. 

    To date, we have already—we have a total of 1,264 volunteer doctor sign-ups, 4,073 non-medical volunteer sign-ups. We have provided 7,896 patients with free medical teleconsultation. We have also provided 7,066 COVID-19 care kits to COVID-19 patients. A total of 28,140 requests on our Bayanihan E-Konsulta platform [were] processed. Next slide, please.

    In May 2021, Bayanihan E-Ataman was launched in the Third District of Camarines Sur. It is a replication of Bayanihan E-Konsulta to support the COVID-19 Response Initiatives of LGUs in the province. We’re doing this in partnership with the office of Congressman Gabby Bordado. The service includes distribution also of COVID Care Kits and Daily Patient Monitoring of COVID positive patients who are isolating at home.

    Bayanihan E-Konsulta was also brought to other provinces like Palawan. 

    The LGU monitoring and surveillance team, together with volunteers from Palawan State University, conduct the Daily Patient Monitoring of all patients undergoing home quarantine. This includes the distribution of COVID Care Kits and distribution of supplies, such as medicines and oxygen tanks. Next slide, please.

    On 29 March 2021, we launched Swab Cab, which aims to provide testing support for barangays and communities with high COVID-19 transmission and infection rates in a bid to mitigate the further spread of the virus. For this initiative, the OVP procured a total of 22,000 antigen test kits worth P11 million. This initiative has been brought to six LGUs as of today: Malabon; Quezon City; Imus, Cavite; Marikina City; Tuguegarao City in Cagayan; and Naga City in Camarines Sur. We were able to do a total of 7,600 tests as of date. Next slide, please.

    To further expand and expedite the rollout of vaccinations and support LGUs in inoculating as many of its residents as soon as possible, the OVP, together with partners and volunteers, set up vaccination sites for targeted priority categories, including economic frontliners. Doctors, nurses and medical students volunteered to help with the vaccination.

    As of date, we have been able to provide 12,821 total number of single doses, 13,747 total number of first dose provided, 2,979, the total number of second dose provided. Next slide, please.

    We were able to do Vaccine Express in the City of Manila, Quezon City, Naga City, Pasig City, Iriga City, San Pedro City. This week, we’re going to San Fernando, Pampanga and Capas, Tarlac to do the Vaccine Express as well.

    In order to keep up with providing services in response to the evolving demands, we continue to strengthen and professionalize the organization.

    In 2020, the OVP received the recertification from the ISO—the International Organization for Standardization—after a successful audit of its quality management system. This would be valid for another three years.

    Also, for the third consecutive year, the OVP received the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit (COA)—an “unqualified opinion” rating on its financial report for fiscal year 2020. Next slide, please.

    We are confident that—what you see on the screen is our proposed budget for 2022—we are confident that with the proposed budget for OVP next year, we can continue working with our partners to contribute to our shared goals of defeating the virus and improving the lives of our people.

    For 2022, the proposed budget is P714.56 million. Of the proposed budget for next year, the DBM recommended  the amount of P713.41 million which is 21% lower than the 2021 appropriation.

    For Personnel Services, including RLIP, the amount of P150 million was recommended by the DBM as the total requirement for the salary, compensation and benefits of OVP employees.

    Under MOOE, Financial Assistance/Subsidies amounting to P357.6 Million is equivalent to 64% of our operating expenses for fiscal year 2022 or 50% of the total recommended budget.

    The recommended budget for Capital Outlay for 2022 is limited to P3.66 Million for the acquisition of IT equipment per endorsed by ISSP. Next slide, please, and this is the last one, I think.

    We are a small office, and our key to being strategic has always been to collaborate, and to maximize the public funds entrusted to us through partnerships. The unprecedented challenges that we are facing because of the pandemic can only be addressed if we can find ways to work together and find solutions. The Office of the Vice President will continue to contribute what it can, as we strive towards our shared goal of building a better future for our people. 

    Maraming salamat po!

     

    - 30 -

    Posted in Transcripts on Sep 10, 2021