Angara prods implementing agencies for Bayanihan 2 to utilize funds faster

Angara prods implementing agencies for Bayanihan 2 to utilize funds faster

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Sonny Angara prodded the agencies tasked to implement the
provisions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One law (Bayanihan 2) to act
with more urgency in utilizing the funds allocated to them.

With just a week left before Republic Act 11519 or the law extending
the availability of appropriations under Bayanihan 2 expires, Angara
said there is very little time left for the implementing agencies
(IAs) to utilize these funds, which have been allocated since
September last year.

“May ilang bilyon pa ang pondong hindi pa nagagamit sa Bayanihan 2.
Ang extension ng Bayanihan 2 funds ay hanggang June 30 lang kaya dapat
paspasan na nila ang pag disburse ng mga pondo,” Angara said.

Department of Budget and Management data as of May 18, 2021 shows that
out of the P165.5 billion of funds appropriated under Bayanihan 2,
P60.9 billion has yet to be obligated by the IAs.

There are six IAs or programs with obligation rates below 50 percent
and two that are below 10 percent.

For most of the funds that will expire on June 30, Angara said these
will revert to the National Treasury.

“Congress acted with urgency in passing Bayanihan 2 in order to
address the urgent needs of the different sectors affected by the
COVID-19 pandemic. We owe it to our Kababayans who are in dire need of
assistance to act just as swiftly especially now with just a few days
left in the Bayanihan 2 extension law,” Angara said.

Under Bayanihan 2, a total of P40.5 billion was provided for health,
which includes the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, the special risk
allowance and compensation for health workers who contract COVID-19,
and the hiring of contact tracers.

A total of P55 billion was provided to the Land Bank of the
Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Small Business
Corporation, and the Philippine Guarantee Corporation as capital
infusion, primarily for the provision of low-interest loans to micro
small and medium enterprises.

To assist the transport sector, a total of P9.5 billion was provided
for cash subsidies and service contracting of the displaced drivers.

For education, P8.9 billion was allocated to assist the DepEd in
implementing digital education, the development of smart campuses of
the state universities and colleges, and the provision of subsidies
and allowances for deserving students among others.

The tourism sector was provided P10 billion for programs including
cash-for-work, low-interest loans, and for tourist guide training and
subsidies.

For the agriculture sector, P24 billion was allocated as a stimulus
package to ensure food security and continuous productivity of the
sector.

Angara noted how the different IAs have varying reasons for the slow
utilization of funds for their programs—from delays in the bidding
process to lack of data on the intended recipients.

“We strongly urge the IAs to work faster in completing their
respective processes so that the intended beneficiaries of the
programs we identified under Bayanihan 2 will get the help that they
badly need at this time,” Angara said.

Bayanihan 2 was signed into law on September 11, 2020 and expired on
December 19, 2020.

In order to give more time for the IAs to utilize the funds allocated
to them, Congress approved the extension of the availability of the
funds under Bayanihan 2 until June 30, 2021 through RA 11519, which
was signed into law on December 29, 2020.

Angara expects the delays in fund releases to be raised when Congress
begins its deliberations on the 2022 national budget in the coming
months. (AI/MTVN)

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