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    VP Leni: We made OVP budget responsive to the pandemic

    VP Leni: We made OVP budget responsive to the pandemic

    Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, January 20, said that as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country, she made sure that the budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) – meager as it is – will be responsive to the health crisis.

    “We already made sure that our budget, the budget of the OVP, is already a COVID budget,” Robredo said in an interview with ANC’s Mike Navallo.

    “We are very mindful that we’re in the middle of a crisis and we make sure that our budget is responsive to the crisis we’re going through,” she added.

    She said that the OVP focused on what the people needed as the country was gripped by the global health crisis. Anything that was not related to COVID-19 was labeled as “non-essential” in the OVP, she added. “We won’t focus on them anymore, muna,” the Vice President said.

    The OVP had a budget of P699.88 million in 2020. In 2021, it had a P908.79 million annual budget. The Department of Budget and Management approved a P713.41 million budget for 2022, cutting the OVP’s 2021 budget by 21 percent.

    Robredo was unfazed by the budget cut and continued to lead her team in the OVP’s pandemic response.

    The OVP has distributed over 10,000 COVID-19 care kits since its Bayanihan E-Konsulta program was launched last year. Bayanihan E-Konsulta is a free telemedicine service where anyone can book a consultation with a volunteer doctor for any ailment. The care kits are sent to those who test positive for COVID-19. The OVP also provides a free RT-PCR test to patients upon the recommendation of the volunteer doctors.

    The OVP’s care kits includes medicines, an oximeter, a thermometer, a bottle of alcohol, a disinfectant cleaner, garbage bags, and a two-week monitoring sheet.

    Robredo said the OVP also purchases the COVID-19 antigen test kits that are used for the OVP Swab Cab. This initiative provides free COVID-19 testing to the public.

    Robredo said the OVP has also relied on their private and development partners especially for Angat Buhay, the OVP’s anti-poverty program. When the pandemic hit, they also became the OVP’s partners in their pandemic response initiatives.

    “Angat Buhay is our anti-poverty program and the main design of Angat Buhay is really collaboration between our office and many private and development partners. So, because we have a network of volunteers, we have a network of partners already, it was really easy for us to ask help from people who can give help,” Robredo said.

    Robredo also said that the OVP staff has also been trained to handle crisis situations since 2016. They have a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) team that has proven its agility in responding to calamities.

    “Since 2016, we already have a DRR team, na paparating pa lang halimbawa, ‘yung bagyo, nagpre-preposition na kami. These are men and women who have been trained to act very, very urgently,” Robredo said.

    The OVP’s Swab Cab, the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, and the Vaccine Express, another initiative to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to the public, are all ongoing projects.

    Robredo hopes that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will allow the OVP to continue with these vital services to the public as she begins to campaign for her presidential bid on Feb. 8. [End]


    Posted in Press Releases on Jan 20, 2022