ACT condemns swift approval of OVP's 2024 budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) condemned the swift approval of the Office of the Vice President's (OVP) budget last Thursday, saying "congressional courtesy" was used as an excuse to cover-up the questionable fund.

"Kahiya-hiya ang ginawang mabilisang pagtatapos ng budget briefing ng OVP, hindi man lang nabigyan ang publiko ng panahon upang matanong ang bise president sa panakulang budget nito gayong napakalaking halaga ang winaldas ng opisina niya mula sa 2022 budget," ACT Chairperson Vladimir Quetua said Friday.

[Translation: The swift approval of the OVP's budget was shameful, the public was not even given time to question the vice president on the proposed budget when her office squandered a huge amount from the 2022 budget.]

READ: Castro: OVP spent ₱125 million confidential funds in 19 days

Less than 20 minutes after Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte presented the proposed budget of the OVP, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos moved to terminate the hearing as part of a long-standing tradition in the House and out of courtesy to Duterte.

Marcos' motion got other lawmakers' nod, except for the three members of Makabayan bloc.

Under the proposed budget for 2024, the Department of Education and the OVP will have ₱150 million and ₱500 million in confidential funds, respectively.

READ: Mic turned off for lawmaker who opposed swift termination of OVP's budget briefing

"Noong 2022, nagwaldas ang OVP ng milyon-milyong halaga ng pera ng mamamayang Pilipino, paano natin mapapanegurong maayos na magagamit ng OVP ang ₱2.38 billion na kabuuang halaga ng appropriation sa ilalim ng NEP (National Expenditure Program) 2024?" Quetua asked.

[Translation: In 2022, the OVP squandered millions of Filipinos' money, how can we ensure that the OVP will properly utilize the ₱2.38 billion appropriation under NEP 2024?]

ACT said the committee on appropriations should be called out for not following parliamentary procedures and "deliberately covering-up" Duterte's alleged accountability in the use of public funds.