UNDER OATH. Vice President Sara Duterte attends the Senate budget deliberation on Monday (Nov. 14, 2022). The Office of the Vice President is proposing a budget of PHP2.3 billion for next year while the Department of Education, where Duterte is the concurrent Secretary, submitted PHP678.1 billion for approval. (Courtesy of Senate PRIB)

MANILA – Senator Sonny Angara said Monday the PHP2.3 billion proposed budget of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for 2023 will remain intact.

Angara said it is a big increase from the current PHP702 million budget but the OVP is an important office which the Committee on Finance wants to support.

"Out of respect, we've never decreased the Office of the Vice President's budget. I would rather it not happen under my watch as committee chair," Angara said in defense of the OVP budget during Monday’s deliberation attended by Vice President Sara Duterte.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said he would move "at the proper time" for the "deletion" of the OVP's PHP500 million confidential fund.

Pimentel said former vice president Leni Robredo asked for much less for 2022.

"Of course, there was a different occupant during the time the request was made. I know that the current occupant of the office wants a very active role for the Vice President," Angara said.

He cited the OVP's plan to open satellite offices in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that will "entail additional costs for personal services, maintenance, and other operating expenses."

Duterte is planning to establish seven satellite offices in Dagupan, Tacloban, Cebu, Bacolod, Tandag, Zamboanga, and Davao which will replicate OVP services and complement disaster risk reduction efforts.

Also included in the OVP's proposed budget are medical and burial assistance, Libreng Sakay (Free Ride) program, disaster operations center, Relief for Individuals in Crisis and Emergencies, food trucks, Peace 911 emergency response, and Mag Negosyo Ta 'Day (Let's Do Business) livelihood program.

Senator Christopher Go expressed full support for the OVP's 2023 budget.

"First time, in a very long time, na sabay nanalo ang magka-alyadong Presidente at Bise Presidente sa ating bansa kaya masasabi ko na (that the allied President and Vice President in our country both won that is why I can say that) she will work closely with the President and thus, needs the support she can get to perform her duties," Go said in his manifestation. (PNA)