MANILA (Mabuhay) — Still reeling from controversies over the handling of its funds in the previous Congress, the Senate plans to cut costs beginning this year, particularly by reducing the number of oversight committees.
To do this, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said on Wednesday that the chamber’s new leadership is exploring the possibility of not giving money to oversight committees that are deemed irrelevant or useless.
The Senate’s 35 oversight committees, which oversee the implementation of specific laws, have a total budget of around P500 million. Not all these committees are functioning, however, and some tackle issues that regular committees already deal with.
“The idea is to be more prudent in spending people’s money. We have to show the way as well,” Recto told reporters.
“We might fund only 20 or 24 of them,” he added, so that each senator will have one oversight committee with the same budget as others.
Recto explained the proposal is the quickest way for the Senate to do away with useless oversight committees, since many of them were created by laws and can only be abolished by passing amendments.
For Recto, only “relevant” oversight committees or those that deal with continuing issues, such as climate change and military modernization, must remain.
“It’s going to be subjective,” he said. “To some people, it is relevant. To me, it might not be.”
Recto said members of the Senate’s majority are discussing it in principle, and that nothing has been finalized yet. (MNS)