THE plenary deliberations of the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) as well as the Department of Education’s (DepEd) proposed budget for 2024 have been rescheduled for Wednesday—the last day of the budget debates.
Following the inquiry of ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Deputy Majority Floor Leader and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin explained that the OVP notified the lower house of a conflict in their schedule.
“The Office of the Vice President as well as the Office of the Department of Education and the Secretary of the Department of Education have conveyed a message to the [House] Committee on Appropriations as well as the Committee on Rules of a possible conflict in schedule. . . details of which the Majority Leader, I mean yours truly, is not yet that privy,” said Garin.
“But [it is] precise for us to say that as of the moment, the deliberations of the proposed budget of the OVP as well as DepEd have been temporarily moved [Wednesday], considering that we also have other agencies in the pipeline,” she added.
For his part, Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel questioned the abrupt rescheduling of the plenary budget deliberations for OVP and DepEd amid questions on Vice President Sara Duterte’s huge confidential fund in the national budget.
“It was two weeks ago when the schedule of the House’s plenary hearing on the budget was first announced. No other agency changed the schedule on the same day. What could be the reason for this absence? Is it also confidential?” asked Manuel.
“Last-minute cancellations with vague explanations in any context are unprofessional. Without a clear explanation, the only thing that happened was that the OVP and DepEd were afraid to face the people and explain, especially about their confidential funds,” he added.
Manuel assured the public that no official would be able to evade their scrutiny of the public funds.
“We are ready to enter early and still serve, even if we have spent more than 12 hours discussing the national budget in the past few days,” he said.
The plenary deliberations for the 2024 General Appropriations Bill are expected to finish on Wednesday (today).