Office of the President gets P17-B increase in 2017 budget

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of President Rodrigo Duterte seeks an allocation of P20.03 billion ($430.3 million), the proposed 2017 national budget shows.

The amount is around P17 billion more than the P2.87 billion ($61.44 million) budget that the Office of the President (OP) has for 2016.  

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Monday, August 15, that the increase is due to the Philippines' hosting of the ASEAN Summit in 2017, which is also the organization’s 50th anniversary. 

“There is a P15 billion item in OP for the hosting the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. This item, while at OP, will be distributed to concerned agencies during budget implementation,” Diokno told Rappler in a text message on Monday.

Based on the official website, the core functions of the OP involve responding to the President’s specific needs and requirements “to achieve the purposes and objectives of the Office and the other agencies under it which will include those under the chairmanship of the President, those under the supervision and control of the President, those under the supervision and control/administrative supervision of the OP, those attached to it for policy and program coordination, and those not placed by law or order creating them under any special department.” 

Its other functions include:

In his first executive order, President Rodrigo Duterte also placed 12 agencies under the supervision of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. 

On Monday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted the proposed P3.35-trillion 2017 national budget to Congress.

Budget priorities include infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, and peace and order.  

The House committee on appropriations will begins its budget deliberations on August 22.

Special Purpose Funds

The proposed 2017 budget also allotted P1.34 trillion ($28.76 billion) for the Special Purpose Funds, up from this year’s P1.28 trillion ($27.57 billion).

The DBM defines SPFs as "items in the budget categorized by use or type but with a specific purpose and legal bases. These budgets contain both disaggregated and lump sum allocations, as defined by their intended purpose." 

These appropriations include the Contingent Fund, Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, Pension and Gratuity Fund, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, budgetary support to government corporations, allocations to local government units, customs duties and taxes, and debt interest payments. 

Diokno stressed that the pork barrel for lawmakers, now deemed unconstitutional, will not be making a return under the 2017 budget, but that the executive branch will consider all worthwhile projec proposals of congressmen for their districts. – Rappler.com

US$1 = P46.55

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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