Senate finance panel approves OP, PMS 2019 budget

MANILA The Senate finance committee on Thursday approved the proposed 2019 budgets of the Office of the President (OP) and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

The proposed 2019 budget of the OP, including the PMS, is PHP6.773 billion, which is 12.32 percent higher than this year's approved budget of PHP6.03 billion.

Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration Rizalina Justol made the presentation on the proposed budget.

The breakdown for the proposed 2019 budget of the OP is as follows: personal services at PHP1,078,204,000; maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) at PHP5,184,072,000; and capital outlay at PHP511,663,000.

Senator Loren Legarda, who chairs the finance committee, asked Justol to explain the increases since the people would likely say that President Rodrigo Duterte is magastos (costly).

Again, we have to explain this because people (would say), under (the) Duterte administration, 12 percent increase (for) OP, she said.

Justol said the 8.45 percent increase in personal services will be for the implementation of the Salary Standardization Law.

Meanwhile, the proposed 11.09 percent increase in the MOOE would be used for supplies and for the travels of the President.

The 36.22 percent increase in capital outlay would go to the acquisition of various machinery, equipment and furniture, as well as other improvements, new buildings and other structures, and expansion and upgrading of projects, among others.

Legarda also asked for a breakdown on where the confidential and intelligence funds, amounting to PHP2.5 billion, will go.

Deputy Executive Secretary Alberto Bernardo said the intelligence and confidential requirements are based on national intelligence estimates of local and foreign situations for the formulation of the President's national policy.

Among the units in the OP that are considered part of the intelligence community and get allocations from the intelligence and confidential funds are the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces Agreement, National Coast Watch System, and the Presidential Situation Room.

However, Bernardo admitted that they do not have a breakdown of the actual funding the units will receive since specific allocations would only be requested and approved by the President after a workshop of the intelligence community is done at the start of the year.

Your budget is approved in the committee and submitted to plenary both for the Office of the President and Presidential Management Staff, taking into consideration the request for submission and the requested augmentation for your budget, Legarda said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency