Lawmaker seeks restoration of ₱7B in DOLE’s 2024 budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — Cagayan De Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday said he wants to restore ₱7 billion to the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), adding Congress should also look at the accomplishments of departments in approving their proposals.

“I am so aghast, perplexed, and disappointed because if you look at the budget, despite all the accomplishments of the DOLE, the OSEC (Office of the Secretary) budget has been reduced from 2024 NEP (National Expenditure Program) compared to the 2023 GAA (General Appropriations Act),” Rodriguez said in the budget briefing of the DOLE in the House of Representatives.

“In the proper time, I will move for the restoration of ₱7 billion to the OSEC, and to be able to give an additional ₱3 billion to TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority),” he added.

DOLE’s proposed budget for 2024 is ₱40.151 billion, a decrease of 14.9% or ₱7.049 billion from the 2023 GAA.

The OSEC will have ₱20.297 billion, which is about ₱6 billion less than the 2023 GAA. TESDA will have ₱15.234 million, a cut of ₱1 billion from the 2023 GAA.

In its presentation, the DOLE said the decrease in the budget is due to various factors including the transfer of 233 plantilla positions of On-site Welfare Services for Overseas Filipino Workers to the Department of Migrant Workers.

The agency also noted the decrease in maintenance and other operating expenses including the reduction of allocated budget for TUPAD Workers Program and the Training and Scholarship Program Fund of TESDA.

Laguesma also presented key accomplishments and targets when he pitched DOLE’s 2024 budget to the House panel.

“We see that all the targets of the DOLE have been met in 2022, exceeding their targets, and in 2023, just the first half of the year, we are almost achieving and overperforming our targets,” Rodriguez said.

In response to the lawmaker, Laguesma said the agency’s proposal passed the Department of Budget and Management and was in line with the whole-of-government approach of the Executive department, but DOLE would “defer to the wishes” of Congress.

“At the end of the day, kayo ang naghahawak ng [you hold the] purse,” he said.

He also said the performance and accomplishments of the DOLE will not happen without the support of the House of Representatives, in collaboration with the private sector and local government units.