COA special audit of 'Bayanihan' COVID-19 funds urged | Inquirer News

COA special audit of ‘Bayanihan’ COVID-19 funds urged

/ 06:26 PM May 03, 2021
COA special audit of 'Bayanihan' COVID-19 funds urged

Sen. Risa Hontiveros asks the Commission of Audit to review the P570-billion COVID-19 expenses.(Screen grab/ Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit on the P570-billion COVID-19 expenditure under the two Bayanihan laws enacted last year.

Hontiveros issued the call by filing Senate Resolution No. 710, which also asked COA to release its findings before Congress begins deliberations on the 2022 national budget.


The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), according to Hontiveros, said the country had spent a total of over P570 billion on the government’s COVID-19 response. She, however, said this “has yet to be felt on the ground.”

“Government must take a hard look in the mirror by doing a special audit of its financial decisions more than a year into the pandemic,” the senator said,” she added.


According to the senator, many healthcare workers have yet to receive their hazard pay. The government’s financial assistance has yet to reach many families and the number of health facilities seems to still be lacking.

“Kung tama nga ang paggastos ng P570 billion, bakit may mga pasyente pa rin na karton ang hinihigaan sa labas ng mga ospital?” she said.

(If the government spent the P570 billion properly, why are patients laying on top of cartons outside hospitals?)

Aside from the COA special audit, the senator also pressed Malacanang to “faithfully” release the financial reports of the expenditure of Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 as required by the law.

She cited Section 14 of law, which requires the Office of the President to release a report every first Monday of the month.

But she said the last financial report released to the public was on January 4, 2021, despite what she noted is the “overwhelming” need to fund programs amid the spike in cases soon after.

“Magkano pa ang natitira? Iresponsable at iligal na hindi isapubliko ang mga financial reports sa panahon ng krisis,” she added.


(How much is still left? It’s irresponsible and illegal not to release to the public the financial reports during times of crisis.)

According to Hontiveros, it was  “crucial” to evaluate the government’s COVID-19 expenses as budget deliberations draw closer, adding that public funds must be appropriated to the “dire needs” of the country.

The audit, she said, will also help respond to bottlenecks and inefficiencies proven to be “fatal.”

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TAGS: Bayanihan, funds, Nation, News, Senator Risa Hontiveros, special audit
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