Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go on Thursday reminded the executive branch to uphold transparency and accountability in the use of government funds allotted for the fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Go made this appeal as he ensured that a joint congressional oversight committee will be formed to make sure that the audit regulations on government agencies are enforced under the newly-signed Republic Act No. 11649 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on Tuesday (March 24) that grants him additional authority to address the deadly coronavirus.
“Ako naman po’y nasa legislative branch of the government, dapat siguraduhin natin na up to the last centavo ay mabibigay po sa tao. Kailangan nilang magreport sa Kongreso once a week ang Executive (As member of the legislative branch of the government, we need to make sure that up to the last centavo will be given to the people. The Executive needs to report to Congress once a week),” he said in a radio interview.
While he recognizes the Commission on Audit’s mandate to protect the taxpayer’s money, Go said “in this time of emergency”, necessary assistance to the people affected by Covid-19 should go unhampered.
As provided under the R.A. 11649, “The President, during Monday of every week, shall submit a weekly report to Congress of all acts performed pursuant to this Act during the immediately preceding week.”
The report will include the amount and corresponding utilization of the funds used, augmented, reprogrammed, reallocated and realigned in accordance with the law.
The joint Congressional Oversight Committee will “determine whether such acts, orders, rules and regulations are within the restrictions provided herein.”
The law also provides for additional penalties for offenses, such as local government unit (LGU) officials disobeying national government policies or directives in imposing quarantines, among others.
“Sinabi ko nga na konsensya po ninyo ang nakatutok po sa inyo sa panahong ito. Alam naman nating nangangailangan ng tulong ang ating mga kapatid na Pilipino so dapat siguraduhin natin (As I’ve said, your conscience shall watch you in this time of crisis. We all know that our fellow Filipinos need help, so let’s make sure they will get it),” Go said.
Go said it was Duterte himself who reminded the government officials to properly use the public funds allotted to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Ni piso dapat walang mawala, walang corruption na dapat mangyari, at mananagot po ang dapat managot kung sakasakaling pumasok ka sa korapsyon sa panahong ito, sabi niya. Huwag kayong magkakamali, sabi niya (Even one peso should not be wasted, no corruption, you will be accountable if you’ll go into corruption. He said, don’t commit mistake),” Go said. (PR)