Duterte tells Congress: What underspending? It's only 1%

Published July 25, 2021, 12:28 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte snapped at Congress after some lawmakers claimed the government was underspending the funds allotted to the coronavirus response, saying they were only talking about one percent of the money that was actually released.

President Duterte (RTVM Screenshot)

Duterte made the statement after some senators found that there were unused funds allocated for the government’s pandemic response efforts.

In his pre-recorded meeting with members of the government’s pandemic task force, Duterte expressed his disappointment with Congress, saying they were the ones who refused to listen.

“The problem is, you know, one thing very wrong with Congress is they are not listening when you are talking. So it would be better to give it a little shout,” he said Saturday, July 24.

“Nakakaano kasi (It gets on my nerves) because the criticism is always on the Executive Department. Tayo yung nag-e-execute (We are the ones who are executing),” he added.

“So when they say you are not spending the money correctly because there is underspending and it turns out, it’s only one percent,” he continued.

According to Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez, what lawmakers were referring to as underspending was only P6 billion.

“According to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), we have already released P660 billion. What they are referring to as ‘underspending’ is P6 billion, or one percent of the total,” he said.

“This is a one-percent problem. In relation to what we have released, this is one percent,” he added.

Dominguez said the DOF and the DBM will be going to each department to see where the P6 billion was. He assured President Duterte that the said amount would be released.

“We are sure that it will be released. In the meantime, we are asking each department to really spend the money,” he said.