By Mario Casayuran
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said on Tuesday that the Duterte administration’s bigger challenge is in the roll out or distribution of cash assistance more than the availability of funds as the executive branch extended the duration of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to April 30.
There are new estimates that the P275 billion in the Bayanihan Act of 2020 approved by Congress and enacted into law last month would not be enough for the millions of Filipinos hit by COVID-19 following the extension of the ECQ by another 18 days.
“I remember during our caucus with the Cabinet secretaries before we went to plenary to the (Republic Act) 11469, Secretary of DOF (Department of Finance) informed us of a $100 million grant from the ADB (Asian Development Bank) and a World Bank standby loan for (coronavirus) Covid-19),’’ Lacson said.
These funds, according to Lacson, might be tapped aside from the latest available P275 billion from untapped and unused Government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) funds.
“Those (funds), plus the unused appropriations of several agencies which Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) roughly estimated at P600 billion (may be sourced) from the 2019 GAA (General Appropriations Act or national budget),’’ he pointed out.