Leni says OVP spent 86% of released budget in 2016


By Juan Escandor Jr. NAGA CITY---Reacting to the Commission on Audit’s report of underspending in 2016, Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo underscored Tuesday (July 11) that her office had actually spent some 86 percent of the released budget in 2016. In the news story on June 30, the Inquirer reported that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) had only spent P130.7M of the P220M, or less than two thirds allocated for indigent Filipinos in 2016 based on the COA. Robredo, who came here to grace an event of the Chevron Philippines and the Department of Education, said that of the P219,963,000 allocated to the OVP for indigent Filipinos, only P151M was actually released in 2016. She explained that from the P151M the Department of Budget and Management released, the OVP was able to disburse to the indigent Filipinos P130,693,993 in 2016. “If we look at it from the actual release of funds, (the spending) was not really low---almost 86 percent,” Robredo said. She said when they examined their records they observed some slowing down of the financial assistance in the first half of 2016 because of the elections. Robredo said the regular release of funds started in June last year. “Actually, there is difficulty to catch-up with the long lines of indigents waiting for financial assistance. Last week, I have ordered to assign additional staff to help process the requests,” she said. Robredo is confident they can efficiently utilize the allocated budget and what is needed is to disburse the funds a bit faster. “In 2016, I came in July. The first half, I was not there yet. In my view, the elections slowed down the spending because there are so many prohibitions.”