by Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Office of the Ombudsman has appealed to Congress to provide funds for the construction of a building that would house its personnel and voluminous case records and to financially assist its whistleblowers.
During the recent budget hearing, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales lamented that next year’s budget is not enough to implement proposed projects.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recommended a zero allocation for the anti-graft body’s Capital Outlay for 2018.
Carpio-Morales said they are seeking P255.26 million for its CO next year.
According to her, the capital outlay for 2018 is intended for the construction of a building for its personnel and for the setting up of more spaces for its voluminous records.
“We don’t have enough space, we need spaces for more personnel and for more records of cases. We have voluminous records in our position which are just lying idle in the hallways,” she said.
“We also need funds for whistleblowers because we need to give them stipend and give them accommodation,” Carpio-Morales added.
She said their P5-million income cannot cover their capital outlay requirements as well as their proposed projects for 2018.
Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar lamented the DBM’s reduction of the Ombudsman’s proposed budget for next year.
“What is here is the negative deductions from your proposed budget to the DBM proposal now , which is short of P2 billion more,” he said.
“I don’t think your savings are enough to cover the difference,” Del Mar said.
He urged Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, to restore the budget cuts made by the DBM.
“If we could ask the help of the House committee on appropriations chairman and if we could do something about it and restore the cuts made by the DBM so that the Office of the Ombudsman can pursue their work excellently,” Del Mar said.
Carpio-Morales responded, saying “Thank you your honor before you change your mind.”
The DBM allocated P2.095 billion and P401.20 million for Office of the Ombudsman’s personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses for 2018, respectively.
In more than 10 minutes, the House Committee on Appropriations approved the proposed P2.588 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman for 2018.
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