’Hasten release of pandemic aid’

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to simplify and speed up the distribution of aid to the people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“What I would like to happen is this: Simplify the giving of the money by asking for a proposal, then that proposal should not be studied by days or by months,” Duterte said in his weekly public address.

“You just review it and if it says that it’s for food, you give it because it’s for food, And all assistance connected with the health of a person or what, just give it,” the President said.

Duterte warned officials that they face sanctions if they fail to fulfill their duties, saying LGUs and other government agencies should not delay the distribution of aid and ensure the social amelioration program swiftly reaches the intended beneficiaries or else risk getting facing suspension and other sanctions.

The President made the remarks after expressing concern over the tedious process in the distribution of the government’s aid program that only prolongs the suffering of the people in need.

He warned that if there are complaints that reach his office, these will be directly forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman, which can order government officials dismissed of file charges against them.

The government has been giving cash aid and other forms of assistance to sectors adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte granted Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado the power to release additional funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

The Palace spokesman said the President delegated to Avisado the authority to approve fund releases under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Republic Act 11494), amid criticisms over the slow release of the P165.5-billion Bayanihan 2 funds, a month after Duterte signed the urgent COVID-19 stimulus plan into law.

Due to the order, over P56 billion was to be released Tuesday, Oct.27, to six government agencies:

* P100 million to the Department of Trade and Industry for shared service facilities of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program;

* P5 billion for augmentation of the National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council;

* P8 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment’s CAMP TUPAD program;

P6 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s assistance for individuals in a crisis situation and sustainable livelihood program;

* P11.62 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s Plant, Plant, Plant program;

* P20.575 billion for the Department of Health for its health-related COVID-19 responses;

* P5.1 billion for DOLE’s AKAP; and

* P500 million for local government support.

Some senators earlier called out the Budget Department for the late release of the bulk of the multi-billion peso funds intended to aid pandemic-hit sectors under the Bayanihan 2 law, which is set to expire by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Duterte called on to his critics to refrain from inventing "a sin" he supposedly committed and said he had "no syndicate" involved in corruption.

He said he would resign if he took even just one peso.

"Do not invent a sin against me because I painstakingly avoided being a corrupt...I don't have any syndicate," he added. – With PNA

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , COVID-19 , Local government units , Harry Roque , Bayanihan to Recover as One Act
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