Defensor wants DOF to explain P1.86-T loans

Representative Mike Defensor, House Committee on Public Accounts chair, asked the Department of Finance (DOF) to explain the P1.86 trillion loans the government acquired from January to July this year, Thursday.

“People are asking questions about the borrowings, particularly where the was used and why did we have to borrow at the time each loan was incurred,” Defensor said in a statement.

“For the sake of transparency, the DOF should account for the debt for the first seven months,” he added.

The lawmaker said the DOF and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has to elaborate the loans further to clear up issues.

“For instance, how much of the P1.86 trillion went to response measures, how much for infrastructure, how much for debt repayment, and how much for salaries, if any?” he said.

Defensor noted that Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said during the budget hearing of the Development Budget Coordination Committee that already released a total of P389 billion for the country’s response.

Defensor wants DOF to explain P1.86-T loans

According to Avisado, P266.53 billion of the disbursed funds came from discontinued projects, activities, and programs (PAPs) in the 2019 and 2020 budgets. He added P102.06 billion was sourced from special-purpose funds and P20.48 billion from regular agency appropriations.

Meanwhile, around P211 billion of the same amount was spent for the first and second tranche of social amelioration program (SAP) for the 18 million low-income families under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the budget chief added.

Defensor asked the to determine the PAPs that have been canceled so that the public would know.

“They can post these in their website, indicating the particular PAP, its funding, and location. If residents feel strongly that a discontinued PAP is still needed in their community, they could push for its funding in future budgets by communicating to lawmakers, their local officials, and even directly to the DBM,” he said.

Defensor also urged the DBM to inform Congress and the public on the amount of savings that the government has accumulated since the quarantine started in March.