Hontiveros calls for ‘special audit’ of Bayanihan funds amid COVID-19 outbreak
MANILA – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday urged the Audit Commission (COA) to review government spending under the “Bayanihan” laws, the emergency measures adopted to provide critical assistance to Filipinos amid the COVID-pandemic. 19 persisted.
In a video message, Hontiveros said his Senate resolution called for a “special audit” for government spending of 570 billion pesos under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) and the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act. (Bayanihan 2).
It also happened as the country continued to fight a new wave of COVID-19 cases, which even peaked at 15,000 in early April, as hospitals in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces still report a critical occupation more than a month since the reintroduction of stricter lockdowns.
“Hanggang ngayon, napakarami pa ring the health workers ang hindi nakakatanggap ng risk pay, maraming pamilya ang hindi pa nakakatanggap ng ayuda, and kulang pa rin stings health facilities,” said the senator, noting that Filipinos are increasingly using the government assistance. a year since the pandemic hit the country.
(So far, many health workers have yet to receive their risk premium, while many families have yet to receive financial assistance from the government. Health facilities are still lacking.)
“Check out the COVID-19 videos, make the Pilipino the best,” she added.
(During this new wave of COVID-19 infections, Filipinos don’t know where taxpayer dollars are going.)
The Bayanihan 1 granted President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers during the health crisis, such as the power to realign government funds, to respond to the pandemic.
The Bayanihan 2, meanwhile, will expire in about 2 months, but Congress has yet to develop a new measure that could extend the validity of the Philippines’ second COVID-19 assistance and response package.
In February, Malacañang said that a quarter of Bayanihan 2’s funds had not yet been used up.
For this reason, Hontiveros also urged Malacañang to release financial reports under Bayanihan 2, which she says is mandated by law.
Keeping those reports, she added, was “irresponsible and illegal” during the crisis.
“The annual report is January 4, 2021. Compared to section 14 of Bayanihan 2, the public financial report can be made public,” she said.
(Their last report was on January 4, but section 14 of Bayanihan 2 said the president should have a public financial report every 1st Monday of the month)
The opposition senator also urged her colleagues to adopt the resolution “immediately” so that they “can judiciously exercise our stock market power”.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines last week topped 1 million, while deaths also recently crossed the 17,000 mark, more than a year since the virus reached the country.
The Philippines was the first country in Asia to go under a nationwide lockdown, and wide restrictions and restrictions on movement saw its economy collapse 9.5% last year, its worst economic contraction on record.
The government’s failed response to the coronavirus also paved the way for the rise of community pantries in several parts of the Philippines, as many Filipinos ran out of essentials at home as the health emergency continued.
– With reports from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News
Risa Hontiveros, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Bayanihan 2, Bayanihan 1, Audit Commission, Bayanihan Fund, COVID-19, Coronavirus, COVID-19 Response, Senate Resolution # 710, Community Pantry