Grace says no more delays in Bayanihan 2 as Duterte orders swift release of funds

Published October 30, 2020, 12:53 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

There should be no more delays in the implementation of the COVID-19 recovery programs under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 with President Duterte’s order for the immediate release of  funds by the Department of Budget and Management, Sen. Grace Poe said Friday.

Senator Grace Poe
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The green light given to the DBM to release funds from the Bayanihan 2 directly to the agencies should give the impetus for faster assistance to the people most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Poe said in a statement.

“We expect the funds to get to the hands of concerned agencies on time and utilized efficiently. Bureaucratic delays must spare the money intended to tide our people and sectors over the coronavirus crisis,” she added.

The DBM said Thursday that it has released P77.98 billion to various agencies after President Duterte delegated last Tuesday to Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado the authority to approve the budget requests for programs under Bayanihan 2.

The law appropriates P140 billion and an additional standby fund of P25.5 billion for sectors affected by the pandemic. It is set to expire on Dec. 19.

Poe said the government should not anymore delay the delivery of the services especially to families, businesses, and workers who are still reeling from the recessionary impacts of the health crisis.

“Huwag na nating hintayin ang Pasko bago nila maramdaman ang benepisyo ng Bayanihan 2. Umaasa ang ating mga kababayan sa tuloy-tuloy na daloy ng tulong habang sila naman ay nagsisikap umahon sa hamong ito (Let’s not wait for Christmas before they can experience the benefits of the Bayanihan 2. Our countrymen are depending on the government’s continuous assistance while they are recovering from this crisis),” she said.

Senators had earlier scored the DBM for the delay in the release of Bayanihan 2 funds.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, however, said he believes that Duterte was not shying away from his responsibilities over the Bayanihan 2 funds in delegating the authority over its release to the DBM Secretary.

“It does not mean that he is shying away from the problem,” Sotto said in an online forum, adding that the President was only being careful in approving the funds to be released to agencies.

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Senate Committee on Finance chairman and sponsor of the Bayanihan 2 law in Senate, tweeted that he was “glad that releases are speeding up to help people.”