Metro Manila, CNN Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte told her critics Wednesday that this is not the right time for “politicking” as Filipinos struggle with rising commodity prices, coupled with the potential impact of the ongoing wars in the Middle East and Europe on the local economy.

After a panel from the House of Representatives dropped the confidential funds for several agencies, including the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) which she also leads, Duterte issued a statement thanking her supporters for backing her leadership.

Duterte said she understands the “disappointment and anger” her supporters felt amid recent developments involving her proposed 2024 budget for both the OVP and DepEd.

The official requested for ₱500 million for the OVP and ₱150 million for the DepEd in the proposed 2024 budget.

However, she said that the issue haunting her offices’ budget was “trivial” compared to the possible effects on the economy of conflicts between Israel and the militant group Hamas, as well as the Ukraine-Russia war.

“Hinihikayat ko ang bawat isa sa inyo na tutukan ang paghahanda sa darating na panahon ng taghirap lalo na sa patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng pagkain at iba pang bilihin,” Duterte said.

“May oras para sa lahat at hindi ito ang panahon ng paninira at pamumulitika lalo na malayo pa ang susunod na eleksyon,” she added, referring to the May 2025 national elections.

[Translation: I encourage each of you to focus on preparing for the trying times, especially with the continuing increase in the prices of food and other commodities. There is a time for everything, and this is not the time for smearing and politicking since the next election is still far.]

Former President Rodrigo Duterte earlier issued a death threat against ACT-Teachers Rep. France Castro, a lawmaker from the progressive Makabayan bloc, for criticizing his daughter’s proposed secret funds.

The Makabayan bloc said it was exploring legal action against the former leader.