The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should expedite the release of billions of Bayanihan funds to boost the country’s COVID-19 response and at the same time ramp up the country’s economic recovery.
Pangilinan lamented the slow release of these funds would not only delay the assistance to individuals and sectors impacted by the pandemic but will also retard economic recovery.
The senator said he is dismayed over DBM’s report that it has so far released only P92.3-billion out of the P165.5-billion stimulus fund under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.
“This is unfortunate because while the funds are available, they could not immediately be felt by the people reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“The urgency of the need of the Filipinos does not seem to match the sluggish movement of the government,” he added.
Pangilinan pointed out Congress passed the Bayanihan 2 law and funded it with P165 -billion for social amelioration, credit facility, aid to displaced workers, including public utility vehicle drivers, among others.
“If our people are able to recover economically, our country will also be able to recover economically,” he said.
The lawmaker noted that the law expires on December 19, 2020, and the DBM should spend almost P70-billion with a month left.
He also said programs being implemented under Bayanihan 2 should be examined to determine if they are yielding the optimum results for the people.
“Government departments and local government units (LGUs) should also have the absorptive capacity to carry out major programs and dispense money efficiently,” he said.