BUDGET HEARING. Vice President and Department of Education Secretary Sara Duterte (right) thanks the House leadership led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose "Mannix" Dalipe, and the House Committee on Appropriations chairman Zaldy Co, for the swift termination of the 2023 budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP). The OVP submitted a proposed PHP2.3-billion budget for 2023 (Photo courtesy of House Press and Public Affairs Bureau)

MANILA – The House of Representatives appropriations committee swiftly terminated on Wednesday the hearing for the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) proposed PHP2.3-billion budget for 2023.

The panel, chaired by Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co, terminated the proceedings on the OVP's budget in less than 13 minutes without any interpellation upon the motion of House Minority Leader and 4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan.

“While some members of the Makabayan bloc would like to provide questions on some new items in the budget... They will provide questions in the plenary to extend courtesy to the Office of the Vice President and therefore, Mr. Speaker, I move that we terminate the briefing of the Office of the Vice President,” Libanan said.

House Majority Leader Manuel Dalipe seconded the motion.

Co said he fully supports the proposed PHP2.31 billion budget of the OVP for next year, the bulk of which will go toward good governance, projects, and the needed social services.

“I speak for my colleagues when I say that this committee has full confidence in the VP’s performance of her duties,” Co said.

Vice President Sara Duterte thanked the House panel for its support and swift termination of the 2023 budget of the OVP.

“If there is anything we can do to help you as an office in your respective mandates, in your legislative districts and partylists, please do let us know. We are open to collaborations in helping our fellow Filipinos,” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, Speaker Martin Romualdez hailed Duterte for exhibiting her "exemplary brand of leadership" as she defended the proposed budgets of her office and the Department of Education (DepEd).

"Salamat, Vice President Inday Sara Duterte, sa pagbisita dito sa amin sa Office of the Speaker. Malaking karangalan na makasama sa paglalakbay mo sa larangan ng serbisyo publiko (Thank you Vice President Inday Sara Duterte for visiting the Office of the Speaker. It is a huge honor for to be a part of your journey in public service)," he said in a statement.

"Umasa kayo na katulong ninyo kaming mga mambabatas sa 19th Congress sa paghahanap ng sapat na pondo para sa mga programa at proyekto ng OVP at DepEd Philippines na magpapataas ng kalidad ng pamumuhay ng mga kababayan nating Pilipino (Rest assured that lawmakers in the 19th Congress will help you find sufficient funding for the projects and programs of the OVP and DepEd Philippines to uplift the quality of lives of every Filipino)," he added.

Next year's budget is more than thrice of the current year's allocation of PHP702 million.

The approval of the motion to terminate means that the panel will endorse the proposed budget to the plenary for another round of deliberations. (PNA)