Safeguards in place to help guarantee P164-B Bayanihan 2 funds will be graft-free — Cayetano

Significant safeguards have been put in place to help guarantee that disbursement of government funds for the implementation of the P164- billion Bayanihan to Recover as One Act will be graft-free.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the Lower House will “continue to exercise its oversight functions” to guarantee that the public will be given best quality of services provided under the Bayanihan 2 which is awaiting presidential approval.

"We want to assure the public that Bayanihan 2 has enhanced the reportorial requirements to be submitted by the Executive agencies to ensure full transparency and accountability," Cayetano said.

“Iisa lang naman ang hangarin ng ating Pangulo at ng Kongreso: ang maibigay ‘yung aksyon at tulong na dapat matanggap ng ating mga kababayan (The President and Congress have only one goal: to act and to give the necessary assistance our fellow Filipinos need)," he said.

Bayanihan 2 provides that the executive will submit to Congress and to the Commission on Audit a monthly report on the following:

1. Targets and actual accomplishments of government programs, strategies, plans, and efforts relative to the COVID-19 pandemic;

2. Relevant and more granulated health-related data and other such information that Congress and COA may require;

3. Terms and conditions of any loan entered into by the government to finance programs and projects to implement the law; and

4. Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) tables for COVID-19.

In registering her opposition to the ratification of the bicameral conference committee of the bill last week, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro aired strong opposition to the grant of carte blanche to the Duterte administration in addressing the COVID 19 problem.

“Just as we maintain that the administration proved itself inutile even with the emergency powers under Bayanihan 1 law, we now maintain that the administration is again given vast powers by Bayanihan 2, yet the issues of incompetence and lack of accountability remain unanswered,” said Castro.

Cayetano remained confident that the implementation of Bayanihan 2 will be safe from graft as he stressed that Congress will form a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to help guarantee this.

The House leader  said Congress will continue to discuss how to hold government accountable even after the passage of the measure “not for the sake of being accountable but to give people better services.”

He said the House leadership will work with the government agencies to help find better solutions to speed up the implementation of COVID-response programs and improve the delivery of services.

"Our government has done a lot in terms of response, but we need to accelerate our recovery initiatives. As the House of the People, we will be the ones to make sure that our agencies have a concrete plan of action and ensure that these plans are being efficiently implemented," he said.