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PANGILINAN: YES TO MORE AID FOR MORE FAMILIES

Vice presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan has justified his reason for voting against the approval of Republic Act No. 11494 or “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” in 2020, saying it was due to the slow and dismal implementation of Bayanihan 1 and various corruption issues involving the government’s COVID-19 response.

“Bukod sa malamyang performance ng Bayanihan 1, kulang ang P160 billion para saluhin ang mga economic losses ng bayan,” Pangilinan said in a Facebook post, referring to the P165.5 billion fund earmarked for Bayanihan 2.

Pangilinan added that corruption issues involving billions of pesos in government funds for COVID-19 response, including the alleged P15 billion Philhealth scam, also encouraged him to vote against Bayanihan 2.

“Mas malaki pa sa P160 billion ang kailangang government fund para buhayin muli ang ekonomiya at magbigay ng mas malaking ayuda sa nahihirapan,” he added.

Pangilinan earlier disclosed that the Senate committee report recommended the amount of P236 billion for Bayanihan 2 for the government to effectively address the country’s most serious health and economic crisis since World War II.

The rollout of the Special Amelioration Program (SAP) of P5,000 to P8,000 for around 18 million low-income families under Bayanihan 1 was marred by various issues, mostly including incomplete lists and slow distribution.

These issues forced local government units (LGUs) to use their own funds to provide financial aid to residents excluded from the list provided by the national government. Around 900,000 families did not receive financial aid after the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) failed to meet its self-imposed deadline on August 15, 2020.

Pangilinan added that corruption issues involving billions of pesos in government funds for COVID-19 response, including the alleged P15 billion Philhealth scam, also encouraged him to vote against Bayanihan 2.

The Senate is currently investigating alleged anomalies regarding the use of Bayanihan 1 funds involving Pharmally Pharmaceutical and Star Pay, the company tapped by the DSWD for SAP distribution.

Around P9 billion under the Bayanihan 2 was left unused after the law’s effectivity lapsed last June 30, 2021, including funds for the allowance and benefits of health workers and service contracting program for drivers of public utility vehicles, among others.

Pangilinan also maintained during the voting that Health Secretary Francisco Duque should be fired from his post to ensure effective implementation of DOH’s programs and projects under the Bayanihan 2.

Around P9 billion under the Bayanihan 2 was left unused after the law’s effectivity lapsed last June 30, 2021, including funds for the allowance and benefits of health workers and service contracting program for drivers of public utility vehicles, among others.

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