A SENATOR has filed a resolution seeking to investigate government underspending and delays in releasing cash aid to frontliners under its recovery plan.
Senator Francis N. Pangilinan on Wednesday filed Senate Resolution 647, noting that only P103.24 billion of P140 billion in funds under the second stimulus law had been released as of Jan. 4.
He also flagged delays in the release of contact tracers’ salaries, special allowances of health workers, cash subsidies to jeepney drivers.
Mr. Pangilinan also cited underspending by the Transportation and Agriculture departments of their budgets under the second stimulus law and the slow release of emergency cash assistance and implementation of coronavirus-related programs.
“We in Congress rushed the approval of two Bayanihan laws and the budgets to ensure there were funds to control the COVID,” he said in a statement in Filipino.
“These delays and underspending are unacceptable given that Bayanihan II was signed into law on July 27, 2020,” he added.
The senator said the Agriculture department had only used a quarter of its funds under the second stimulus law.
He cited the Philippines’ abysmal rankings in coronavirus management and vaccine procurement. It ranked 79th among 98 nations in containing the pandemic, according to a study by the Lowy Institute.
“We can’t let bureaucracy slow us down from delivering much needed aid and support,” Mr. Pangilinan said.
A similar probe had been sought at the House of Representatives. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas