Gov’t to use unspent Bayanihan funds for quarantine of returning Filipinos—Duterte

Published June 22, 2021, 9:22 AM

by Raymund Antonio

President Duterte said the government would utilize the unused funds under Bayanihan laws to pay for the expenses of returning Filipinos from abroad while they are in quarantine.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his public address on June 21, 2021. (Malacañang photo)

During his prerecorded public address on Monday, June 21, Duterte noted the allocation of the Bayanihan funds for the quarantine expenses would ease the inconvenience of returning overseas Filipinos and their families.

“Congress appropriated so much money for Bayanihan. I think that if there is— may residual pa diyan naiwan (we have residual there), it behooves upon the government to pay for the sequestration expenses of the—the every returning Filipino,” he said.

“Kaya nga ang binigyan tayo ng malaking pera ng Congress (That’s why we were given much money by Congress) and I think there’s still—nabasa ko sa newspaper ngayon that about 10 billion o—basta bilyon, remains un—not utilized (I read in newspapers now that 10 billion or billions remain not utilized),” Duterte added.

Some overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) have received full vaccinations from their host countries but when they arrive in the Philippines, they have to stay for seven days in government-accredited hotels.

After testing negative from an RT-PCR test, they will be allowed to continue the next three days of their quarantine in the local government unit (LGU) where they will stay.

READ: Incoming travelers vaccinated abroad to undergo 10-day quarantine

Groups of OFWs have already called out the government because of the expenses they incur during their 10-day quarantine.

The Chief Executive said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) could “take care” of the payment of the quarantine expenses of Filipinos from abroad.

Duterte also said the LGUs should facilitate the lodging of Filipino returnees in quarantine facilities.

“I am ordering now everybody, including the government units, i-hotel nila o anuhan, babayaran ng national government ‘yan (put them in a hotel or whatever, that will be paid by the national government),” he noted.

“As to when? There is money and we will do it as fast as we can,” the President stressed. “I will order to hasten para mawala ‘yong ( in order to remove the) dynamics about the expenses of keeping them in sequestration.”