MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he wanted government agencies to publicly disclose their spending every 15 days, including funding for efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President said his Cabinet officials should publish in newspapers their agencies' spending for accountability.
"Itong sa Cabinet, another publication sa disbursement nila kung ilan ang ginastos nila ngayong buwan na ito o gusto mo every 15 days para mas maganda. Every 15 days you would know how much a department has disbursed money of the people," he said in an address taped Monday night.
(For the Cabinet, they should publish their expenses this month or if you want, every 15 days, that's better.)
Items for procurement as well as names of bidders should also be disclosed to the public, he added.
"I would require them to publish in the newspaper, sa tatlong newspapers of general circulation," Duterte said.
Duterte made the remark during a meeting with select Cabinet members in his hometown Davao City, where he also warned government officials of jail time should they be found guilty of misusing public funds meant for the COVID-19 response.
"Pero itong nagnakaw ng pera ng bayan lalo na 'yung sa COVID-19, they will go to prison. I am sure. 'Pag wala akong makita na magpakulong, magdampot ako ng 3 sa kanila, kulungin ko. Pilitin ko kulungin para may makulong lang talaga sa p***** i**** ginawa nila dito sa pera ng tao," Duterte said.
(Those who stole funds especially those allotted for COVID-19, they will go to prison. I am sure. If I don't see anyone going to jail, I'll pick three to send to jail because of what they did to the public's money.)
The President gave the warning as government geared up for the enactment of its second coronavirus response law, the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill.
Congress has already ratified the bill, which now only needs the President's signature to become a law.
"I urge Congress, ilagay na ninyo ang lahat ng safety measures para walang palpak. Kung gusto ninyo ‘yon na, ‘yung sabi ko itong sa newspaper pati ‘yung sa disbursement," he said, referring to the publication of spending reports of government agencies.
(I urge Congress to put in place all the necessary safety measures so there won't be problems. If you want, that's what I said, to publish disbursements in the newspaper.)
The bill includes a P140-billion aid package for affected sectors, and a P25.52-billion standby fund that government may spend in the next 4 months before the 2021 budget takes effect.
Just like the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act - the government's first COVID-19 relief package - Bayanihan 2 allows the President to realign funds for pandemic-related expenses.