Ombudsman’s 2020 budget cut by P1.5 billion

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Ombudsman’s 2020 budget cut by P1.5 billion

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) – September 11, 2019 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), which is investigating the release of 1,914 heinous crime convicts due to good conduct time allowance, will have to make do with a lower budget next year.

Based on the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national expenditure program President Duterte submitted to Congress last month, the OMB will have almost P3.2 billion, which is P1.5 billion less than this year’s P4.7 billion.

Of the P3.2 billion, P2.4 billion will be for salaries and other personnel benefits, while more than P725 million will be for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), the same level as this year’s allocation.

It is the big decrease of nearly P1 billion in the allotment for personnel-related compensation that accounts for the bulk of the P1.5-billion budget cut. This year’s allocation for salaries and benefits is P3.4 billion.

This year, the OMB has P353 million in capital outlay. There is no funding for such purpose next year.

Apparently, the OMB’s failure to fill its authorized positions prompted the President and the Department of Budget and Management to reduce the agency’s outlay for personnel services.

Based on its staffing summary, the OMB has 2,303 in permanent positions. Of that number, 1,273 are occupied, while 1,030 are vacant.

The biggest MOOE expense item of the ombudsman for next year is P126 million for travel, P144 million training and scholarship, and P126 million for supplies and materials.

The ombudsman will have P34 million for confidential expenses, and P20 million for extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses.

It is not clear why no capital outlay (CO) is allocated for the OMB for next year. This year, the biggest items in its P353-million CO is P140 million for land, P100 million for buildings and structures, P51 million for furniture, fixtures and books, and P25 million for vehicles.