FREE RIDE UPDATE. Office of the Vice President (OVP) spokesperson Reynold Munsayac gives updates to the media during the joint press conference of the OVP and the Department of Education (DepED) at the DepEd Central Office in Pasig City on Thursday (Sept. 1, 2022). Munsayac gave an update on the medical assistance and the “Libreng Sakay” (free ride) program of the OVP. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Sept 1 (Mabuhay) –The Office of the Vice President on Thursday said it will be transparent in the utilization of its proposed P2.3 billion budget for next year.

At a press conference, OVP spokesperson Atty. Reynold Munsayac said they only requested a budget they think would be sufficient to support their current priority projects on basic social services and financial subsidy.

Based on the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the House of Representatives, the OVP, under Vice President Sara Duterte, is seeking a total of P2,305,396,000 funding for next year.

Of the total amount, P2.2 billion will be set aside for new appropriations for general administration and support, and operations; while P12.7 million will go to automatic appropriations for retirement and life insurance premiums.

The P2.2 billion also included funding of the current OVP’s good governance program on financial subsidy, medical and burial assistance, and free bus ridership, among others.

The OVP received P713,408,000 budget in the current fiscal year.

“May nagtatanong bakit lumaki ang budget ng OVP, eh masama ho kung ‘yung mga projects natin ay questionable. Ito hong bulk ng budget ng OVP, karamihan po ‘to para sa basic social services at financial subsidy. Ito ‘yung direktang makukuha ng ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan talaga ng tulong,” Munsayac said.

(People are asking why the budget of OVP grew. It’s bad if our projects are questionable, but the bulk of the OVP budget is mostly for basic social services and financial subsidies. This is what our countrymen who really need help will get directly.)

“Ganyan ‘yung laki niya dahil nakikita ninyo naman, ngayon pa lang po, pito na yung ating OVP satellite offices. Ang intensyon talaga ng OVP ay maging available itong mga services na ‘to at assistance na ‘to sa ating mga kababayan lalo na sa mga malalayong lugar,” he added.

(It’s that big because we have seven OVP satellite offices now. The intention of OVP is to make these services and assistance available to our countrymen, especially in remote areas.)

The OVP announced in early August the opening of its satellite office in Bacolod City, its seventh established branch since Duterte assumed her post.

These satellite offices offer medical and burial assistance programs.

“Under Vice President Sara Duterte, siguradong magiging transparent kami sa paggamit ng pondo na ‘yan para makikita na ginagamit nang tama at ‘yan ay napupunta lahat sa kababayan nating nangangailangan ng tulong,” Munsayac said.

Confidential funds

Pressed on the proposed P500 million in confidential expenses of the OVP for next year, Munsayac said this will be used for their projects to maintain peace and order and national security.

The OVP in its 2022 budget had no confidential expenses.

Munsayac also said that this confidential fund will be utilized in compliance with the joint circular issued by DBM and Commission on Audit (COA).

“Of course, the position and mandate of the Vice President allows her to utilize those kinds of funds, regarding peace and order and national security, especially we have livelihood projects that will be implemented in conflict areas in our attempt to maintain peace and order and pursue national security projects,” he said. “Sisiguraduhin po namin na ito pong pondong ito ay gagamitin ng tama at para suportahan lang ‘yung programa ng mga Office of the Vice President,” he added. (MNS)