'Walang sindikato': Duterte says Bayanihan Act funds spent wisely

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2020 11:51 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the Inter-Agency Task Force meeting on October 5, 2020. Handout photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday assured the public that additional funds allocated for the government's COVID-19 response were spent properly.

This, as he admitted that there was corruption within the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

"I must admit, and it would be stupid of me to invent lies, na talagang nangyari 'yung sa PhilHealth. And that is why the NBI, after an investigation, submitted their findings to the Ombudsman, and recommended prosecution in court. Nandoon 'yun," Duterte said during his weekly public address.

(I must admit, and it would be stupid of me to invent lies, that there is indeed corruption within PhilHealth. And that is why the NBI, after an investigation, submitted their findings to the Ombudsman, and recommended prosecution in court. That's there.)

He, however, gave the assurance that the additional funds provided by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) laws were spent properly.

"Ito namang pera ng Bayanihan Act, I assure you, that it was spent wisely, it was spent according to rules. At sinigurado ko 'yan at the start. Wala hong ano diyan, sindikato. Wala hong, sabihin mo na may nakawan," Duterte said.

(The money allocated by the Bayanihan Act, I assure you, that it was spent wisely, it was spent according to rules. And I assure you, I made sure from the start. There is no syndicate there. There is no corruption.)

"And we will be careful with the next round of Bayanihan. There's still money to be, well, given to the people, to the poor, especially," he added, hinting at a third Bayanihan law.

The Bayanihan 2 law, signed into law in September 11, is seen as a life vest for the economy, as it includes a P140-billion aid package for industries adversely affected by the pandemic, and a P25.52-billion standby fund that the government may spend before the 2021 budget takes effect.

Its predecessor, the Bayanihan 1, granted Duterte additional powers, such as the authority to realign items under the 2020 national budget, to respond to the pandemic. It was signed into law on March 25 and expired on June 24.