House to hold inquiry on pandemic spending of gov’t – Velasco
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will conduct hearings on how the government has so far spent billions of its funds for the COVID-19 pandemic response, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Thursday.
Velasco noted that the lower chamber has oversight powers over approved funding of government agencies and their programs.
“Definitely, kailangan ‘yun. We also have that power of oversight. Definitely, lahat ng budget na pinapasa namin, we need to find out whether it was being spent well,” he told CNN Philippines in an interview when asked if the House will also prioritize looking into how the pandemic funds were spent and being spent by the government.
(Definitely, that is needed. We also have that power of oversight. Definitely, all the budgets we pass, we need to find out whether it was being spent well.)
“I’m sure we are going to have a few hearings so that the executive will be able to explain and show to us kung saan na nila nagamit ang mga pondo na inilaan natin para sa pagsagot sa (where they used the funds allocated to respond to the) COVID pandemic,” he added.
Documents released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) early this month showed that as of June 25, some P168.7 billion in approved COVID-related funds have remained unused by various state agencies. This was a quarter of the P665.7 billion budget already released to fight the pandemic since the government started imposing lockdowns in March last year.
During the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole in June that tackled the status of the mass vaccination program, the DBM attributed the huge amount of undisbursed COVID-19 budgets to bottlenecks in the implementation of certain projects and programs.
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