A party-list lawmaker on Thursday questioned the increase in the budget for traveling expenses of the Office of the President under 2022 national budget.
During the plenary deliberations Thursday, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro took note of the OP’s proposed P8.18 billion budget for next year, which includes an increase in its travel funds amid the pandemic.
Castro pointed out that the OP’s proposed budget for travel expenses increased to P314.37 for next year from this year’s P283.33 million.
In response, Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos Jr., who was sponsoring the proposed budget of the OP, said “cancelled trips” explained why there was an increase in the travel funds.
“The increase of almost 11 percent for next year is due to the planned local and foreign travels that [were scheduled in 2021] during the COVID outbreak [which were] canceled,” Jalosjos said.
“They are planning to do those travels for next year,” he added.
Jalosjos said the proposed increase was intended to “move forward from this pandemic.”
“We have to put additional funds so that we can maximize the opening of our economy, to move forward from this pandemic,” Jalosjos said.
Meanwhile, House Deputy Minority leader Carlos Isagani Zarate scored the Department of Transportation’s alleged “parked” funds of P1.127 trillion at the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
“Parked” funds refer to the practice of listing of items under the budget of a congressional district so that it could be used for a different project in a different district.