WITH the continuing rise in Covid cases and the slow vaccine roll-out, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan wants to further extend the effectivity of the provisions and availability of appropriations under the Bayanihan 2.
“As per DBM, kalahati pa lang ng pondo ng Bayanihan 2 ang nagagamit at mag-e-expire na ito sa June 30. Kailangan gamitin ang natitirang pondo para pabilisin ang roll-out ng vaccination at pigilan ang pagtaas ng kaso ng Covid,” said Pangilinan.
In Senate Bill 2218, Pangilinan seeks an extension to December 31, 2021, saying this should strengthen and fast-track the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pangilinan also seeks a monthly report on the “targets and actual accomplishments of government programs, strategies, plans and and efforts relative to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as relevant and more granulated health-related data, and such other information which Congress may require.”
According to the bill, the monthly report should be submitted every first Monday of the month.
As of April 12, the Department of Budget and Management’s Covid-19 Budget Utilization Report showed that funds under Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, only P132,647,197,699.00 or 51.06 percent has been obligated.
Of the amount obligated, only P93,307,784,521.00 or 70.34 percent has been disbursed. The appropriations under the Bayanihan 2 Law will be available until 30 June 2021 only or in less than two months, as provided for under Republic Act 11519.
“This is alarming, it’s been a long time since we have implemented Bayanihan 2, but only over 50 percent of the budget has been obligated. Mabagal ang takbo. If we want to fast-track our efforts against Covid, we have to utilize all our available resources for healthcare, vaccination roll-out, testing and prevention,” he added.
As of 18 May 2021, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has reached 1,159,071 while the reported death toll due to the virus is now at 19,507.
The national Covid-19 vaccination program rollout has been slow, with only a total of 7,779,050 doses received as of 18 May 2021.