Solons push for P1-B budget for OVP in 2022 as they laud its pandemic efforts
OVP proposed budget breezes through House panel
Lawmakers are pushing to increase the budget of the Office of the Vice President to at least P1 billion, as they recognize the office’s comprehensive COVID-19 response efforts.
In keeping with tradition, the recommended P713.41 million budget for the OVP was swiftly approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on Friday morning. However, several House members said that the office should receive additional funding, to support its programs especially amid the pandemic.
Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. pitched a P1-billion budget for the OVP, noting that it received the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit for three consecutive years, as well as its role “at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.”
“[T]he Office of the Vice President has been judiciously and honestly tending its budget in order to pursue the objective of promoting and protecting the welfare and well-being of the Filipino people,” Bordado said.
The OVP initially proposed a budget of P714.56 million for 2022, but the Department of Budget of Management recommended P713.41 million—21% lower than the P908.79 million allocation the office received in 2021.
Vice President Leni Robredo herself presented the office’s budget and various programs before lawmakers, as she has consistently done throughout her term.
“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,” VP Leni said. “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.”
OVP COVID, Angat Buhay efforts
OVP’s pandemic response includes supporting frontliners, hospitals, and other facilities through PPE, medical supplies, care packages, free transportation and dormitories, temporary shelters, and test kits.
To address the growing need for medical attention during this time, the office has its teleconsultation platform, Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which caters to both COVID and non-COVID cases. Meanwhile, it supports local government units in testing and vaccination efforts through Swab Cab and Vaccine Express, respectively.
Over the past year and a half, the OVP has also been providing, among others:
* relief packs and hot meals to communities in need;
* assistance in distance learning through its Bayanihan E-skwela initiatives; and
* livelihood and training opportunities through its Community Marts, its Bayanihanapbuhay platforms, and the expansion of its Sustainable Livelihood and Training program.
OVP likewise continues to offer medical assistance to vulnerable and indigent clients. From 2016 to 2021, the program has utilized P1.26 billion, serving 107,666 beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, the office’s flagship anti-poverty program, Angat Buhay, has mobilized more than P456 million of resources, helping 563,891 families and individuals in 223 cities and municipalities nationwide, with the support of 346 partner organizations.
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