Congress to probe how COVID-19 budget was spent

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Thursday that the Congress would investigate how the national government spent the budget allotted for COVID-19 response.

“I’m sure we’re going to have few hearings so that the executive will be able to explain and show to us how it spent the budget allotted for addressing the pandemic,” Velasco said in an interview on CNN Philippines.

Last month, the Senate’s Committee of the Whole already probed how the government’s budget was spent dealing with the pandemic.

The House Speaker said the House could give additional funding for the government’s anti-COVID efforts, especially amid the threat of the Delta variant.

Velasco also agreed that more budget would be needed for the vaccination of children in the future.

“Congress naman is always open for all the help that needs to be given to the executive, ‘yung mga kinakailangan nilang ipasa na legislations, we’re always here to help lalung-lalo na pagka itong kailangan ng taumbayan para panlaban dito sa ating COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

(Congress is always open to help the executive when it comes to legislation that needed to be passed, especially when it comes to the needs of the public to fight the pandemic.)

Congress to probe how COVID-19 budget was spent

“Lalo na nga ‘yung Delta variant, which is very scary, kinakailangan natin ng additional funding for pagbili natin ng additional vaccines at lalo na ‘yung mga anak natin na kinakailangang mabakunahan na din,” Velasco added.

(Especially regarding the Delta variant, which is very scary, we need additional funds for the purchase of more vaccines as well as for the vaccination of our children.)

Early this month, senator Manny Pacquiao has filed a resolution to formally ask the Senate to investigate the alleged failure of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to distribute P10.4 billion worth of funds or “aid.”

Pacquiao questioned DSWD’s use of the Starpay e-wallet service to distribute aid because it was still necessary to  its  or application to receive and obtain aid.

But according to Pacquiao, of the estimated 1.8 million people who should be assisted, only 500,000 have downloaded the Starpay application.

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