Binay's office to make do with 'meager' budget

Posted at 09/02/2014 5:31 PM

MANILA - The office of Vice President Jejomar Binay said it would "make the most" of a budget for next year that is lower than what it asked for.

On Tuesday, the Senate finance committee approved the Office of the Vice President's (OVP) proposed 2015 budget of P222 million, which is lower than the P231 million it requested from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Undersecretary Benjamin Martinez Jr. told reporters that the budget decreased after the DBM slashed a provision for a computerization program.

The DBM transferred the funds to its own budget since the program will be implemented in the entire nationwide bureaucracy.

He noted, however, that their budget for next year increased by only 2.46 percent compared to this year's--a rate lower than the usual 3.5 to 4 percent.

"We're making the most of this budget," Martinez said.

"We make the most of what we have and I think the Vice President has shown that despite this meager budget, in the eyes of the people, we perform well."

Senate finance committee chairman Francis Escudero explained that the OVP would also benefit from the government's computerization program even if the funds for it were removed from its budget.

He added the budget became smaller after the OVP, like members of the Senate, did away with its Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the controversial pork barrel, which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.

Escudero also dismissed observations comparing the OVP's budget with the huge increase for the Department of the Interior and Local Government, an agency headed by Binay's rival in the 2010 vice presidential race, Secretary Mar Roxas.

"Except for the two of them, if they ever have issues, I don't see any issue between the DILG and OVP proper," he said.