VP Binay asks Senate to remove OVP’s social fund in the national budget

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Tuesday reiterated his request to remove the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) P200 million social fund in the 2014 national budget.

This is in light of the decision of the House of Representatives to allocate the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers and the OVP’s social fund as additional funding for government line agencies.

“In line with my statement during the hearing of the proposed budget of the Office of the Vice President last September 11, 2013 and considering the public’s perception on the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and other lump sum items in the national budget, I reiterate my position to have the proposed Two Hundred Million Pesos (P200,000,000.00) allocation for locally funded projects of my office removed and the full amount deducted from the national budget for 2014,” Binay said in a letter to Sen. Francis Escudero.

Binay also asked the Senate to look closely into the inclusion of lump sum items in the national budget.

In his letter to Escudero, who is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, Binay said removing lump sum allocations of government agencies would assure Filipinos that government officials are committed to serve with transparency.

“I earnestly seek the support of my fellow public servants in the Senate to take action on the issue of continued inclusion of lump sum items in the appropriations law by removing all lump sum allocations of other government agencies in the national budget to show our steadfast resolve to listen and respond to the public’s call for greater transparency and accountability,” Binay said.

The Vice President previously allocated part of the OVP’s P200-million social fund for the construction or repair of senior citizens’ centers nationwide.

From 2011 to 2012, the OVP bankrolled the construction or repair of 500 senior citizens’ centers. Around 200 more are expected to be built this year.

Part of the fund was also used for the Vice President’s scholarship grant-in-aid program.

Binay said that since he assumed office, the locally-funded projects of the OVP have all passed the scrutiny of the Commission on Audit (COA).

“Hindi lamang pasado ito sa COA, kundi pinapurihan pa kami, bilang pagkilala  sa hayag at masinop na paggamit ng aking tanggapan sa nasabing pondo, at ang benepisyo na natatamasa ng ating mga kababayan,” Binay said.#