Sen. Risa Hontiveros
COVID-19

Seeing smokes and mirrors; Hontiveros wants ‘special audit’ of Covid-19 response fund

May 4, 2021, 3:49 AM
Opinyon News Team

Opinyon News Team

News Reporter

Senator Risa Hontiveros said it was "crucial" to evaluate the billions government has allotted for Covid-19 response as budget deliberations draw closer, adding that government funds must be appropriated to the 'dire needs' of the country.

WHERE have the funds allotted under the two Bayanihan laws really gone?

Senator Risa Hontiveros is asking this question as she urged the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a "special audit" on the P570 billion expenditure under the Bayanihan Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) and the Bayanihan to Recover Act (Bayanihan 2).

In a statement, the senator wondered where the funds have actually been spent as the country's health system remains overwhelmed due to the effects of Covid-19.

"Bilyon-bilyon na umano ang ginagastos mula sa pera ng taumbayan, pero hindi naman naiibsan ang pagdurusa ng mga Pilipino. Government must take a hard look in the mirror by doing a special audit of its financial decisions more than a year into the pandemic," she said.

Hontiveros also pressed Malacanang to 'faithfully' release the financial reports of the expenditure of Bayanihan 2 as required by the law. Section 14 of Bayanihan 2 requires the Office of the President to release a report every first Monday of the month.

She added that it was concerning that the last financial report released to the public was on January 4, 2021, despite the 'overwhelming' need to fund programs amid the spike in cases soon after.

"Kung kailan matindi ang pagsirit ng mga kaso ng Covid-19, saka naman hindi makita ng mga Pilipino kung saan na napupunta ang pera natin. Paano natin mapopondohan nang maayos ang mga gamot, ayuda, pasilidad, at programang panligtas-buhay kung hindi natin alam kung alin-alin ang natugunan na at alin ang hindi pa.” she asked.
“Magkano pa ang natitira? Iresponsable at iligal na hindi isapubliko ang mga financial reports sa panahon ng krisis," she continued.

This is the second resolution for a special audit on Covid-19 funds that Hontiveros has filed.

The senator said it was "crucial" to evaluate these expenses as budget deliberations draw closer, adding that government funds must be appropriated to the 'dire needs' of the country. The audit, she said, will help in responding to bottlenecks and inefficiencies proven to be 'fatal'.

Currently, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the country has spent over P570 billion on Covid-19 response. (ONT)

Tags: #RisaHontiveros, #Covid19, #BayanihanHealasOneAct

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