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No excuse for delayed release of Bayanihan 2 funds, Go tells DBM

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go urged the government, particularly the Department of Budget and Management, to release the much needed funds allocated under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, also known as Bayanihan 2.

He emphasized that the legislative branch urgently passed the measure 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.

“Minadali ng Senado na maipasa ito…kaya walang dahilan para maipit ang pondo,” Go said during a media interview after he led the distribution of assistance to jeepney operators and drivers in Pasay City on Tuesday, October 20.

Go said that he had already discussed with Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado regarding the prompt release of various allocations so that it may be immediately utilized for its intended purposes.

He shared that Sec. Avisado committed that DBM and the implementing agencies concerned are acting on the matter and making sure that necessary resources indicated in the law are released immediately.

According to Sec. Avisado, he has marching orders to the DBM to act on all budget requests within 24 hours upon receipt of his office if all the requirements are complete. Avisado, however, clarified that an omnibus release is not possible since proper processes have to be followed.

“Wala pong rason na hindi po mai-release ang funds para magamit kaagad ang Bayanihan 2. Halos wala kaming tulugan para maipasa namin sa Senado ito, i-release na po, nandyan na po ang authority,” he said, stressing that a delay in the release of the budget will be detrimental to the country’s path to recovery.

The Bayanihan 2 measure provides a COVID-19 recovery fund worth P165.5 billion. P140 billion is allotted for regular appropriation and P25.5 billion in standby funds.

The measure seeks to finance various programs of the government, such as the improvement of the healthcare system, implementation of a cash-for-work program, assistance to industries affected by the pandemic, especially the agriculture sector, and the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, among other interventions. ####