THE SENATE finance committee has reported out for plenary discussions the 2019 budget of the Office of the President (OP), which is 12% higher than this year’s budget.
In a hearing Thursday, Senator Loren B. Legarda, who chairs the committee, said the P6.77 billion budget for the OP and the attached Presidential Management Staff (PMS), said: “The budget submitted is deemed approved for plenary.”
Testifying on the OP’s behalf, Deputy Executive Secretary for Internal Audit Rizalina N. Justol said “At first the proposed budget was cut but we were given a ceiling (for allowed funding). That’s why I had to talk to (Budget) Secretary (Benjamin E.) Diokno because of the needs of the president.”
The OP budget includes P1.08 billion for salaries. Ms. Legarda noted that the salary bill is higher in 2019 in part due to the Salary Standardization Law.
The proposed funding for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) will rise 11.09% to P5.18 billion.
The Capital Outlay (CO) in 2019 will rise 38.22% to P511 million to replace old equipment and retrofit buildings.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives also approved the proposed 2019 OP budget.— Gillian M. Cortez