THE Senate finance committee on Wednesday approved the P8.201-billion budget of the Office of the President (OP) for 2020 with no interpellation.
Former special assistant to the president and Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go chaired the finance committee sub-panel that approved the budget within 11 minutes.
“Opposite sides na tayo ngayon, pero (we are on opposite sides now, but) it doesn’t mean that I will not scrutinize you all,” Mr. Go told representatives of the Office of the President, led by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea.
The OP budget is 21.07% higher in 2020.
Some P1.070 billion will fund personnel services, P6.703 billion maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and P427.46 million capital outlays. The same spending plan was approved by the House Appropriations committee in under six minutes last week.
When asked about the swift approval, Mr. Go vouched for the performance of the OP officials he has worked with.
“Alam ko naman ‘yung mga taga-Office of the President, kilala ko naman sila (I know the people at OP). I’ve been there for the past three years,” he told reporters in a chance interview Wednesday.
“At meron pa naman plenary, kung gusto nilang magtanong, scrutinize nila (the budget can still be questioned at plenary).”
The House appropriations committee on Tuesday approved the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, as proposed under the National Expenditure Program.
The panel endorsed the 2020 General Appropriations Bill for plenary deliberation on Wednesday, with a final approval target of Oct. 4.
Both Houses plan to submit the 2020 national budget by Dec. 15 for President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signature. — Charmaine A. Tadalan