Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has stressed the urgent need to extend the validity of Republic Act No. 11519 or Bayanihan 2 Act which expires on June 30, saying the unutilized amount of P18.4 billion for pandemic response should not only be questioned but also be deplored.
De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said that Congress is now left without a choice but to ask the President anew to call a Special Session to approve the extension of the Bayanihan 2 Act.
“Kung hindi palpak, saksakan naman ng bagal. Nandyan ang pera ngunit hindi nagawa na makaabot sa milyun-milyong nangangailangang Pilipino. Dapat ay ipaliwanag ni Duterte at ng IATF kung bakit hindi nila naipatupad ang Bayanihan 2 nang maayos kaya maraming proyekto ang hindi naisagawa kahit pa may pondo,” she asked.
“Once again, Duterte has left a mess for both Houses of Congress to clean. Matapos pagpuyatan at pagpaguran ng mga mambabatas upang dumaloy naman kahit papaano ang ginhawa at ayuda sa bayan, hindi ginawa nila Duterte ang bahagi nila,” she added.
Report from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Bayanihan 2 as of May 31 showed there is over P18.4 billion in unobligated funds for critical pandemic response and recovery programs that are about to expire.
“This is something worth condemning because Congress had already extended Bayanihan 2 last year. The enormous unspent amount of P18.4 billion should be not only a cause for concern, but a cause to question, to castigate, to be infuriated,” said the lady Senator from Bicol.
It can be noted that Bayanihan 2 was already extended six months from its original expiry on Dec. 31, 2020.
Last June 3, the House of Representatives passed on second reading a bill to further extend the validity of Bayanihan 2 funds but failed to pass it on third reading before it adjourned.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said the failed implementation of Bayanihan 2 Act only shows the ineptitude of the Duterte administration to prioritize and address the needs of the public.
“Milyun-milyong Pilipino ang patuloy na nananawagan para sa ayuda, pero nandyan ang perang pinapatulog pa rin sa kangkungan,” she said.
“Kaysa unahin ang pamumulitika at pagkampanya sa eleksyon, gawin muna nila ang trabaho nila. Kawawa naman ang taumbayan. Tayo na naman ang nag-adjust,” she added. (30)