Monday, August 19, 2013

Senate minority nixes equal budget for all oversight committees - ABS CBN News

MANILA - The Senate's minority group has expressed its disapproval of a plan by the chamber's leaders to allocate the same amount of money to all oversight committees, which are tasked to monitor the implementation of laws.

In a joint statement released on Monday, the minority said new scheme is actually not as equitable as it appears.

To save on costs, the chamber's leaders have announced a plan to slash the number of oversight committees from 39 to 20, and give each the same annual budget of P20 million.

"It subtracts fronm those senators whose current oversight committee budgets are higher than P20 million (whether in one oversight committee or in multiple chairmanships) and it adds to those who either have budgets lower than P20 million, regardless of whether a senator chairs one or none," the group said.

Instead of equalizing the budget for oversight committees, the minority called on the Senate to carefully select the committees it will retain based on importance, functions, and performance.

"Many of the committees have not been active through the years and there is no real record or report of its achievements as such, and no standard by which the public could measure whether such huge amounts can be justified as being necessary and useful expenditures," it said,

The minority group--composed of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Vicente Sotto III, Gregorio Honsan II, JV Ejercito, and Nancy Binay--also said their members who do not chair oversight committees will not accept additional funds for maintenance and other operating expenses

The minority senators added that they are one with the Senate leadership in seeking ways to reform the chamber's budget.
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