The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday accused Senator Nancy Binay of creating disinformation about the government's expenditures, as it belied her claim of zero budget for the legal assistance to distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In a statement, the DBM said the P100-million legal assistance fund (LAF) is included in the proposed budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DAF) for 2016 under Foreign Policy Services.
"Our OFWs will continue to have access to the crucial legal assistance they have always received from the National Government,” the DBM said.
Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, earlier claimed that the LAF has been dwindling since last year, when the DBM proposed only P30 million for the fund in 2015.
She said Congress approved her proposal to increase the fund to P100 million, but it was conditionally vetoed by President Benigno Aquino III when the General Appropriations Bill was signed into law.
“This year, the LAF appropriation was placed under conditional implementation by the President, so that we could properly comply with constitutional guidelines. We need to make it clear that the fund itself was never vetoed," the DBM explained.
“We ask the people to be vigilant against disinformation about the National Budget. All manner of funds that DBM administers are subject to the pertinent laws and provisions, and we strive to address the needs of our countrymen as prudently as possible,” it added.
The amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act provides the creation of the LAF, which will give assistance to OFWs facing charges, litigation expenses, court fees, and bail bonds. —Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/KBK, GMA News