Senator Risa Hontiveros sought a thorough audit of the Bayanihan law implementation, saying the government failed to meet its health and economic relief targets for battling COVID-19.
“Dahil sa Bayanihan Act ay isinuko na ng Kongreso ang kaniyang ‘power of the purse.’ Kaya kailangang bantayang maigi kung saan napupunta ang pera,” Hontiveros said in her privilege speech on Wednesday.
(Because of the Bayanihan Act, Congress surrendered its power of the purse. We need to observe where the money is going.)
She questioned how the country still lacks human health resources and infrastructure while President Rodrigo Duterte was already granted special powers.
“Apat na buwan na ang nakakaraan. Bilyon-bilyon ang pondo na nasa kamay ng pamahalaan at malawak ang kapangyarihan na ibinigay natin sa Pangulo. Pero hanggang ngayon, wala pa rin tayo ng pinangako nilang 30,000 tests per day. Hindi rin malinaw kung na-flatten na ba ang curve ng pandemiya,” she said.
(Four months have passed. The government had billions of funds, and the President was given a broader power. But until now, the 30,000 tests per day is still not here. It is not also clear if we have flattened the curve already.)
Hontiveros also criticized the Department of Health for its alleged failure to give reliable and comprehensive COVID-19 data.
“Naguguluhan na ang publiko at mismong policy makers sa ibinibigay na datos. Biglang may “fresh cases,” at may new cases pero old na raw. For government to produce the right policies, we have to have the right data in our hands,” she said.
(The public and policymakers themselves are confused about the data provided. Suddenly there are “fresh cases,” and there are new cases but old ones.)
Hontiveros also raised issued on DOH purchasing alleged overpriced medical supplies and shifting to GCQ without mass testing.
“Paano natin mapagkakatiwalaan ang gobyerno na gamitin sa maayos ang pera ng bayan kung may mga taong walang konsensiyang pinagkakakitaan ang pandemyang ito?” she said.
(How can we trust the government to use the people’s money properly when there are people who have no conscience and are making money out of this pandemic?)
Congress is currently tackling a second Bayanihan Law which focuses on economic recovery.