Palace welcomes audit of COVID-19 expenses
Seven senators have filed Resolution No. 479 seeking a special audit of all state spending under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, a law that provided President Duterte emergency powers to fight the pandemic.
The STAR/Felicer Santos, file
Palace welcomes audit of COVID-19 expenses
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is open to a special audit of the expenses, loans and donations related to the government’s pandemic response, saying all funds were spent for programs designed to contain the coronavirus disease.

Seven senators have filed Resolution No. 479 seeking a special audit of all state spending under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, a law that provided President Duterte emergency powers to fight the pandemic.

The resolution, signed by Sens. Risa Hontiveros, Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara, Panfilo Lacson, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Leila de Lima, cited purchases “marred by allegations of overpricing,” including the procurement of automated nucleic acid extractors, personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and the importation of RT-PCR test kits from China and South Korea.

Senators also asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to present its findings before the 2021 budget deliberations.

“The President and Malacañang are not hiding anything,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing yesterday.

“All the funds spent for COVID-19 went to the government’s COVID-19 response,” he added.

Roque said the administration had regularly submitted to Congress reports on how the funds had been spent while the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act was still in effect.

“Nonetheless, since we are not hiding anything, we welcome the special audit, noting that it would be audited anyway by COA because COA conducts post-audits,” the Palace spokesman said.

Roque said he would present on Monday data on the government’s expenditures for pandemic-related programs and items.

Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the COVID-19 national policy, said efforts were made to buy cheaper but quality medical supplies. He said the government buys directly from manufacturers to lower costs.

“You can be assured that all funds intended for COVID-19 were used to buy our needs. The President has given us a personal instruction to ensure that the money should go to hospitals, testing and other intended recipients,” Galvez said.

Galvez said the government also coordinated with foreign embassies to lower the prices of equipment to be purchased.

“Our President talks to leaders so we can have what we call a direct procurement, so we won’t need to deal with suppliers,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will continue to tap the military and the police for its “muscle” in the distribution of the second tranche of the P5,000 to P8,000 emergency cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

The arrangement was stipulated in Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2 the DSWD signed with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND).

The DILG has supervision over the Philippine National Police while the Armed Forces of the Philippines is under the DND. – Rainier Allan Ronda

Related video:

BAYANIHAN TO HEAL AS ONE ACT
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with