By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Reporter
PHILIPPINE SENATE On Wednesday Over £170m re-compiled agency intelligence funds as unanimously approved on fireads his version of the proposed 5.268 trillion budget for next year.
Senators received a 120 million pound intelligence fund from the Department of Education, O.ffiPF 19.2 million from the Ombudsman’s CE, Department of Justice, Sen. Juan Edgardo M. Angara, head of the Finance Committee, told the plenary.
They also cut the outer Affair department intelligence budget £5 million, social welfare department £2 million and other executive structuresffi6 million pounds. The funds were transferred to the maintenance and operating costs of the agencies.
“All within the agency, because we didn’t want to deprive the agencies of their budgets,” Mr. Angara said.
The Senate, dominated by allies of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., did not touch his office’s P4.5 billion in intelligence and classified funds, as well as the P500 million earmarked for Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio’s office.
Lawmakers approved the appropriations measure, which is affirmativefiurgently, in the second and third reading on the same day.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III, who proposed 2.25 billion pounds in cuts to the President’s Intelligence Agency.fidenential funds, requested detailed information on reignments.
The opposition leader also wanted to cancel the P500 million secret budget of the vice president and the P150 million secret fund under the Department of Education (DepEd), which he also heads.
The P100 million reduction in DepEd’s secret budget was first transferred to the operating expenses of the vice president’s office, before Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baracuel proposed to keep it under DepEd. Later, 20 million pounds were changed as operating expenses.
Ms. Hontiveros then proposed a special provision within the 2023 budget bill that would compel the DepEd to create a work plan on the use of its configuration.fiDental funds.
According to the bill, “DepEd shall submit its proposal to both houses of Congress.fiagency funds.”
“We should leave these dangerous jobs to the professionals,” he said. “All public funds should always be audited. We need to know where the national cooperation isffers is going and if it is worth allocating such huge funds to an agency,” he added in mixed English and Filipino.
“Tens of millions [of pesos] it’s still tens of millions,” he said. “The exceptions to that have to be very strict, that’s our pledge to the people.”
Mr. Pimentel said he proposed restructuring the P3 billion fraud.fiIntelligence and intelligence funds in the 2023 budget.
“HeffiThe President’s CE … is not a uniformed or military agency, nor is it an intelligence agency,” he said.
“We respect it, unfortunately we cannot agree,” Mr. Angara said in response.
Supporting Mr. Pimentel, Ms. Hontiveros said: “I would like to reiterate my continued objection to the appropriateness of placing classified funds in non-national security agencies, and not just the amount, but the fairness.”
“We have agencies that need more funding for homeland security surveillance and other programs, including anti-trafficking and anti-child abuse,” he said.
The Senate increased the budgets of several other programs fifinancial assistance, cooperative support, micro, small and medium enterprise empowerment and national electricityfication.