Gov’t should focus on war against COVID-19—Binay

Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday, Sept. 15 said the government should focus on the war against COVID-19 pandemic which poses bigger repercussions to the lives of thousands of Filipinos and to the country’s economy as well.

“We are at war with COVID-19. The government should focus on this war. Let’s prioritize our problem on COVID. We need to make sure all hands are on deck in our battle against COVID,” Binay said in a Kapihan Sa Manila Bay virtual forum.

“I’m not saying that we should set aside all other problems, but I suggest we get all hands (working) on COVID-19 pandemic. Because its repercussion in our daily lives is too much. It destroyed a huge part of our way of life,” the senator said.

With this, she said Congress should make sure that the proposed 2022 national budget has sufficient funds to augment the government’s COVID-19 response and “exert its power of the purse.”

As far as she is concerned, Binay lamented next year’s budget is not “ready for a war against COVID-19.”

“The 2022 budget is not ready for a war with COVID. Ang daming kulang (it lacks so many aspect),” the senator said.

“COVID-19 is here to stay and is not going away anytime soon. So we should craft our budget that makes sure inputs on COVID-19 response is there,” she stressed.

Binay is among the senators who is pushing for additional allocation for contact tracing, additional special risk allowances (SRA) for healthcare workers and financial aid for individuals affected by the lockdowns and quarantine restrictions.

The lawmaker said she is eyeing the programmed funds for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) be channeled to these programs to strengthen the government’s response against the pandemic.