Probe of Bayanihan 2 funds sought
MANILA, Philippines — Thirty-seven members of the House of Representatives have filed a resolution seeking an investigation into unreleased funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 law.
Under House Resolution No. 1558, Rep. Sharon Garin and other legislators, most of them allied with President Rodrigo Duterte, have asked the committee on public accounts to look into why only 73.74 percent of the approximately P165 billion worth of funds under Bayanihan 2 has been released.
The lawmakers cited the need for accountability given that “the delay in releases forgo the opportunity to rescue the economy and correlate with actual economic losses.”Garin, a key proponent of the measure, cited a Nov. 3, 2020, data from the Office of the President, stating that only P76.2 billion has been released out of the P140 billion funds appropriated under Bayanihan 2.
The Bayanihan 2 alloted P140 billion for the government’s COVID-19 response and another P25.5 billion in standby funds.
Bayanihan 2 funds were initially valid only until Dec. 19, 2020, but President Duterte has signed Republic Act No. 11519 extending the validity of appropriations up to June 30, 2021.
“The pandemic is now only a month shy from reaching its first year and the country is still reeling from the impact of an economic nosedive. If we don’t act on this, the economic revival we all hope for will not materialize,” Garin said on Tuesday.
With 4.5 million Filipinos at risk of losing their jobs, she said the inquiry would shed light on possible solutions to this problem as well as the country’s dismal economic performance.
“The economy cannot afford slow implementation of government relief programs that have already been approved and authorized, especially as the World Bank and other international institutions warn that the country will recover more slowly than its peers in the East Asia and Pacific region,” the resolution stated.
Aside from Garin, other proponents of the measure are Representatives Joey Salceda, Robert Ace Barbers, Raneo Abu, Rosanna Vergara, Ferdinand Hernandez, Christopher de Venecia, Angelica Natasha Co, Julienne Baronda, Deogracias Victor Savellano, Horacio Suansing, Edward Maceda, Estrellita Suansing, Ronnie Ong, Stella Luz Quimbo, Claudine Bautista, Antonio Albano, Michael Gorriceta, Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, John Rey Tiangco, Victor Yap, Lorenz Defensor, Amihilda Sangcopan, Jesus Suntay, Edgar Mary Sarmiento, Braegen John Biron, Rufus Rodriguez, Conrad Estrella III, Alfredo Garbin Jr., Sol Aragones, Kristine Singson-Meehan, Cristal Bagatsing, Francisco Benitez, Erico Aristotle Aumentado, Jose Gay Padiernos, Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, and Romeo Momo. INQ
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