Office of the Vice President
9 October 2017
The Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay program received the support of the Senate, which moved to give the anti-poverty initiative its own fund.
The OVP’s P443.9-million budget for fiscal year 2018 was approved after brief Senate plenary deliberations on Monday morning.
During the proceedings, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III suggested that they also allot P20 million for Angat Buhay. Senator Loren Legarda, sponsor of the 2018 budget, backed this proposal.
Vice President Leni Robredo said this allocation was “unexpected,” despite interest that senators had shown during the committee hearing, where she presented the program and its results nearly a year into implementation.
“Kami naman, parating kailangan [ng additional budget], pero parang iyong biro ko sa kanila, kung pag-aawayan, huwag na lang. Pero mukha namang walang opposition iyong iba na dagdagan,” she told reporters after attending the plenary deliberations.
The Vice President said the amount will be of great help to the program, which assists poor communities in needs related to the OVP’s six key advocacies, including nutrition and food security, universal healthcare, rural development, education, women empowerment, and housing.
Angat Buhay also provides assistance to areas affected by disaster, including typhoons, landslides, and even strife.
Under the program’s current design, the OVP—given its limited budget—moves instead as link between selected communities and partner organizations, most of which are from the private sector.
The program, launched in October 2016, started with 50 partner-LGUs, including some of the poorest, smallest, and farthest around the country. At present, it is assisting 153 communities, and is eyeing to expand its reach further on its second year.
Asked about the criteria used by the OVP in selecting partner-LGUs, VP Leni said assistance is extended regardless of political alliances.
“Mayroon kaming formula noong pagpili [ng mga partner-LGUs]. Isa doon iyong kung iyong pangangailangan niya ay swak doon sa sinabi kong namin na pillars. Pangalawa, iyong leadership niya, proactive. Ang gustong sabihin, dahil umaasa kami ngayon sa private partnerships, hindi mahihirapan iyong partners namin to deal with the local officials. Iyong pangatlo, parang aligned iyong advocacies ng opisina at ng local government units,” she said.
The OVP will mark Angat Buhay’s first anniversary on October 17, with the launch of the program’s livelihood arm, Angat Kabuhayan, which aims to address the trend of mismatch of available jobs and skills in communities, create more inclusive models that allow local enterprises to grow and be sustainable, and promote enabling business enviroments.
Angat Kabuhayan brings together the private sector, local government units, and civil society organizations for this initiative, focusing on several high-growth industries, including agribusiness, construction, information technology and business process, manufacturing, and tourism.