Office of the Vice President and Department of Education Abandon Confidential Fund Requests for 2024 Budget
In a surprising turn of events, Vice President Sara Duterte and the Department of Education have officially withdrawn their collective request for ₱650 million in confidential funds under the 2024 budget. The decision comes after acknowledging the divisive nature of the pursuit of such funds.
Vice President Duterte stated, “The Office of the Vice President can only propose a budget to support the safe implementation of our programs, activities, and projects to alleviate poverty and promote the general welfare of every Filipino family.” She emphasized her commitment to maintaining peace and strength in the country, citing the divisive nature of the issue.
The withdrawal follows the removal of ₱500 million in confidential funds from the Office of the Vice President, as realigned by the House of Representatives’ version of the 2024 General Appropriations Bill. The Senate Committee on Finance, chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara, adopted the House’s recommendations, reducing the total amount of confidential and intelligence funds in the 2024 budget.
Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel commended Vice President Duterte for her decision, stating, “I commend her for now categorically stating to this house that it’s not a deferral to our wisdom. She does not want it.”
During the Senate plenary debate, Angara explained that the Office of the Vice President’s confidential funds were intended for ensuring the safe implementation of programs and the secure travel of the vice president and her staff throughout the country.
In a related development, the Department of Education, led by Sara Duterte, also abandoned its request for ₱150 million in confidential funds. Sen. Pia Cayetano, the DepEd’s budget sponsor, revealed the decision, stating that the funds would be better realigned to the National Learning Recovery Program.
The DepEd’s statement read, “We are all parents who want to protect our children. The security of the youth is the security of our country’s future. Nonetheless, DepEd will no longer pursue confidential funds.”
This withdrawal comes amid continued scrutiny of Vice President Duterte’s use of ₱125 million in secret funds in 2022, with critics questioning the necessity and transparency of such allocations. The Senate plenary concluded its debates on the Office of the Vice President’s proposed ₱1.874 billion budget for the next year after a brief 30-minute session.