By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has reminded “millionaires” to give donations directly to hospitals instead of coursing them through his office.
As the country battles the spread of the new coronavirus disease, the President admitted that some rich donors offered to give him financial donations, but he refused to handle the funds.
“Maraming mga milyonaryo nagpunta, nagsabi magbigay ng tulong ipapadaan sa — alam mo na. Siyempre para malaman ng Presidente talagang nagbigay sila,” he said in his public address Thursday night.
(There are many millionaires who came and offered donations through me. Of course, they just want the President to know they made these donations.)
“Sabi ko, hindi ako nagtatanggap ng pera. Idiretso ninyo ‘yan doon sa ospital.” ( I told them I won’t accept money. Give it directly to the hospital.)
Even as he promised the government is “honest” in handling funds for the coronavirus response, the President insisted that he does not like handling money.
“This is also and maybe for the information of everybody. Do not come to me bringing money. I do not accept. Ayaw kong humawak ng pera kasi ayaw kong magkwenta,” he said. (I don’t want to handle money because I don’t want to reckon it.)
“‘Pag siningil ka balang araw, ‘Saan ‘yung…’ Ayaw ko ng — ayaw ko ng ganun. Gusto ko wala, para pagdating ng panahon, sabihin ko, ‘Ano? Anong kiya-kiya mo diyan? Ano bang hinawakan ko?'”(When they ask me someday where the money is … I don’t like it. I don’t want to handle any, so I don’t have to explain in the future.)
Despite his refusal to touch money, the President assured the public that the government is “dong everything honestly.”
He explained that the government will use its savings for the coronavirus operations and will resort to borrowing and sale of assets if the resources run out.
“Wala tayong pondo na paghati-hatian natin ‘yan. Iyong savings iba ‘yun. Iyon ang ginagamit ko rin. ‘Pag maubos ‘yan, then we start to borrow. ‘Pag wala ng — naubos na ‘yung pautang then we sell the assets of the government.”
(We don’t have a budget that will be split among ourselves. We will use our savings. If it runs out, then we start to borrow. If that runs out, then we sell the assets of the government.)
The President’s economic team earlier proposed a P1.17 trillion war chest to boost the country’s healthcare efforts, provide subsidies to affected sectors, and stimulate the economy in light of the pandemic. The funds will be sourced from borrowing from foreign lenders, among others.