SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has expressed his support and intent to be a co-author of a Senate resolution filed by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri urging the Department of Social Welfare and Development to fast-track the release of its available funds to help Filipinos in distress whose lives have been severely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as recent calamities.
“Sunud-sunod po na bagyo ang tumama sa ating bansa sa gitna ng ating laban sa COVID-19, kaya kailangan po nating mas pabilisin ang pagbibigay ng pondo para sa ating mga kababayan na apektado ng mga bagyo at ng COVID-19,” Go said during his manifestation submitted during the Senate plenary.
Go added that he, himself, has visited typhoon victims and personally witnessed their struggles to recover from the recent calamities.
“Ako mismo ay nagpunta sa Catanduanes, Marikina, Bulacan, at Rizal province kamakailan lamang para magbigay ng tulong sa panahon ng kanilang pagdadalamhati,” said Go.
“Sa katunayan ay patuloy pa rin po ang pagbibigay natin ng tulong sa mga lugar na nasalanta ng bagyo,” he added.
Go acknowledged the efforts of DSWD for its continuing public service to Filipinos amid the recent typhoons and ongoing pandemic. He, however, asked them to closely monitor and expedite the release of the much needed funds and services to help Filipinos recover from these challenges.
“To the DSWD, nagpapasalamat po ako sa serbisyo ninyo sa ating mga kababayan. Ang paalala ko lang po, mas paigtingin pa po natin ito at tutukan. Siguraduhing maibigay agad ang serbisyo sa taumbayan,” he urged.
Go added that the Senate urgently passed the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act so that necessary resources can be made available to help Filipinos in need, speed up economic recovery, and enhance the country’s continuing fight against COVID-19.
“The allocations must be released immediately and be utilized to help Filipinos in need,” he emphasized.
In a press release, the DSWD explained that the unspent P83- billion balance from its 2020 budget that was raised during a Senate budget hearing has been programmed for the implementation of various programs, activities, and projects for the remaining months of this year.
These include the PhP40 billion allotted for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); PhP2.1 billion for its Supplementary Feeding Program for Children; PhP 2.6 billion for its Sustainable Livelihood Program; PhP 3.9 billion for Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens; and P13.7 billion for Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation Program.
In the press release, DSWD also emphasized that “these are all programmed funds indicated in the General Appropriations Act, which can only be modified upon receiving an approval from the DBM.”
DSWD also cited that the COVID-19 pandemic; imposed Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases guidelines; mobility challenges; constraints on manpower/resources of LGUs and other government agencies; Commission on Audit rules; Memorandum of Agreement commitments; counter-checking measures to ensure transparency/accountability; re-bidding difficulties, logistical problems; and community health risks as a result of the pandemic plus the series of typhoons have hampered and adversely affected the implementation of its various programs, activities and services.
The Department, however, assures the public that “it is exerting its best efforts to expedite the utilization of the funds for their intended purpose within the fiscal year.”
The DSWD further stated that it has “painstakingly taken into consideration the necessary procedures and provisions of the law, to ensure that a lawful and judicious spending of government resources reach its intended rightful beneficiaries.”