House swiftly OKs proposed 2024 budget of Office of the President

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) – The Office of the President did not face scrutiny during its budget hearing on Tuesday after the House Committee on Appropriations swiftly approved its proposed ₱10.7-billion budget for next year.

Abra Rep. Ching Bernos moved for the termination of the budget hearing citing "parliamentary courtesy," a tradition of the House to quickly terminate the budget hearings of the Office of the President and Office of the Vice President out of respect to both offices.

Some lawmakers clashed as members of the minority bloc raised their objections.

"Nire-railroad natin yung deliberation. We should give members the right and the time na maghabol yung kanilang mga objections," Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel said.

"Hindi po pwedeng minamadali ito (dahil) budget ng Office of the President yung pinag-uusapan," he added.

[Translation: We’re railroading the deliberation. We should give members the right and the time to raise their objections. We should not rush this because we are talking about the budget of the Office of the President.]

Manuel and Alliance of Concerned Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro raised their objections, but Castro later withdrew.

"At the point that the objection (of Rep. Castro) was withdrawn, then, automatically the motion to terminate the budget briefing was carried," Makati Rep. Stella Quimbo, who is also the Appropriations Committee vice chair, clarified.

Despite the objection of Manuel, the House proceeded with its approval. Members of the minority were also given the opportunity to deliver their manifestations.

Manuel flagged the "excessive" travel expenses of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the expansion of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

RELATED: OP foreign travel expenses up by ₱367M in 2022 COA

"It (NTF-ELCAC) is a form of encroachment na patuloy na babantayan at tatakutin ang ating mga civilian organizations and individuals," Manuel said.

[Translation: It is a form of encroachment that continuously monitor and scare civilian organizations and individuals.]

According to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, the proposed ₱10.7-billion budget will be used for the president's meetings within and outside the country and for infrastructure work in Malacañang and The Mansion House in Baguio City.