MANILA - Senator Grace Poe is asking the Presidential Communications Operations Office to explain a P100-million increase in its proposed budget for next year.
Other agencies, Poe noted, are grappling with deep cuts in the proposed 2019 appropriations amid rising food prices and hunger incidence.
"The PCOO must justify its budget increase. What are the deliverables? Are memes and blogs also hit by inflationary spikes?" the senator said in a statement.
"Is the cost of feeding the nation with government information adversely affected by TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act), too? Will the PCOO be hiring campaigners to explain federalism?" she added.
Among the agencies facing deep cuts in the proposed 2019 appropriations are the departments of Agriculture (P55 billion from P61 billion in 2017); Social Welfare (P136.6 billion from P141.8 billion) and Health (P71 billion from P107 billion), Poe noted.
The PCOO, meanwhile, is asking for a budget of P1.41 billion.
"The obliterated amount from some agencies will hit hard the people, who badly need social services. What will sustain them are education, affordable food, health services and social assistance, not gaffes and reckless communication campaigns," Poe said.
The Communications office's bid for a higher budget comes as its assistant secretary, Margaux "Mocha" Uson drew ire for posting a controversial video making light of the proposed shift to a federal system of government.
With a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News