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MANILA - The budget for the intelligence and operational funds for the Office of the President was "conditionally" approved by the Senate after Senator Antonio Trillanes IV asked for a breakdown of the funds. Senate Finance Committee Chair Loren Legarda told Palace officials led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea that OP's budget is "approved pending breakdown."

Based on the proposed budget, the president's confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary expenses -- as well his traveling expenses -- for 2017 are tremendously higher. For 2017, the OP's traveling expenses will be P2.12 billion, up from from P312.18 million in 2016. Confidential expenses will be P1.25 billion, from P250 million in 2016. Extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses will be P12 million, from P17 million in 2016. Duterte's intelligence expenses will be P1.25 billion in 2017, up from P250 million in 2016. Professional services will amount to P2.1 billion, from P78 million in 2016. Representation expenses, meanwhile, will be P7.5 billion in 2017, from P139 million in 2016. On the other hand, P2.1 billlion will be allocated for the President's trips in 2017, up from P303 million in 2016. Others expenses are communications (P1.3 billion in 2017 from P23 million in 2016); professional expenses (P2.1 billion in 2017 from P78 million in 2016); rent/lease (P2.3 billion in 2017 from P48.9 million in 2016).

The OP's total Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) for 2017 is P19.2 billion. Personnel services will amount to P747, while capital outlay will cost P660,000. In an interview after the budget hearing, Trillanes said he wants a breakdown of the budget to determine if agencies such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, which are tasked to do the job on the war on drugs, are included in their budget. "Ayaw lang natin ng parang blank check," said Trillanes. He said he prefers that agencies like PDEA which do the actual work to directly receive the funds instead of going through the OP first. "Sino ba sa OP per se ang nagko-conduct ng operation against illegal drugs?" said Trillanes.

source: news.abs-cbn.com/

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