Lacson questions supplemental budget for COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday questioned the need to have a supplemental budget for the country’s response against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) when there are still billions of unused funds from the 2019 national budget.
Lacson pointed out that there were still about P1.3 trillion unused appropriations under the 2019 budget by the end of the third quarter of 2019, which prompted the government to extend the validity of some of its portions until Dec. 31, 2020.
Around P989 billion comes from the executive branch, particularly from agencies that were not able to fully spend their budgets.
“May savings na unused sa 2019. Dapat diba pwede gamitin yan? Extended naman ang validity. So pwede sila kumuha roon, mas dapat nga kumuha roon kasi hindi talaga nagamit ng ahensya yan,” he said in an interview over dzBB.
“Bakit tayo kakapusin? Hindi ko maintindihan ito, dapat maipaliwanag nila kung magkaroon ng oversight hearing tungkol dito,” the senator added.
He demanded an explanation from the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic Development Authority, the Department of Finance, as well as the National Treasurer.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier revealed that the government has already spent P352.7 billion for the government’s efforts against COVID-19.
Malacañang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte may ask Congress to pass a supplemental budget to augment funds for the government’s response against the pandemic.
Last March, the President signed into law the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which allowed him to exercise additional powers to contain the spread of the COVID-19.
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