DBM gets go-ahead to release Bayanihan 2 funds

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    PRESIDENT Duterte has authorized Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado to release funds under the Bayanihan 2 Act when needed to avoid any delay in government efforts to address and cushion the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

    Now that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is no longer tied down by the bureaucracy of first securing the approval of the President, Roque said it can right away release the P165.5-billion Bayanihan 2 funds, the immediate release of which was held back by the review of the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Office of the President.

    Roque said the DBM will initially release over P56 billion which includes 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 Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF), P8 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) programs; and P6 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Assistance for Individuals in a Crisis Situation and sustainable livelihood program.

    Also set to be released is 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 lawmakers had raised concerns about the slow release of Bayanihan 2 funds as the law is expedted to already lapse in December. The President signed the Bayanihan 2 law on September 11.