Anong kinalaman ng farm-to-market roads sa pag-responde ng gobyerno sa pandemya?
Yan ang tanong ng standard bearer ng Partido Reporma na si Senador Ping Lacson nitong Lunes matapos nitong mapag-alaman na ang P5-bilyong pondo na dapat sana ay para sa Covid-19 response ay ginamit pala sa pagpopondo ng implementasyon ng farm-to-market road projects sa ilalim ng Agriculture Stimulus Package ng Bayanihan 2.
“We noticed releases under Bayanihan 2 focused on farm-to-market roads worth P5 billion. Can you explain the connection between these farm-to-market road releases and the government’s Covid response? Parang hindi ko ma-connect,” ani Lacson sa kanyang interpelasyon sa badyet ng DA.
What is the connection between farm-to-market roads and the government’s response to the Covid pandemic?
Senator and Partido Reporma presidential standard bearer Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson asked this on Monday as he noted P5 billion intended for the government’s Covid-19 response was used to cover funding requirements for the implementation of farm-to-market road projects under the Agriculture Stimulus Package of Bayanihan 2.
“We noticed releases under Bayanihan 2 focused on farm-to-market roads worth P5 billion. Can you explain the connection between these farm-to-market road releases and the government’s Covid response? Parang hindi ko ma-connect (I cannot seem to make the connection),” he said in his interpellation of the DA’s budget.
Dalawang malalakas na sampal ang tumama sa mga Pinoy sa panahon ng pandemya dahil sa mahigit na P63 bilyong hindi ginamit na pondo sa Bayanihan 2 – kasama ang P46.397 bilyon na “undisbursed” at P17.23 bilyong “unobligated,” ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson nitong Lunes.
Isiniwalat ito ni Lacson matapos ang pagsasaliksik ng mga naturang datos bunga ng unang akusasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na sinabi umano ng mambabatas na mababa ang paggugol ng pamahalaan sa mga pondo nito ngayong pandemya.
“We should keep in mind that underspending is determined not by fund releases but by obligations and disbursements. And based on my research, is there underspending? Yes!” banggit ni Lacson sa panayam ng Radyo 5.
No thanks to a P63 billion-plus underspending by the government under Bayanihan 2 – with some P46.397 billion undisbursed and P17.273 billion unobligated – Filipinos whose lives and livelihoods were affected by the pandemic have been hit with a double whammy as much-needed aid did not reach them, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said on Monday.
“We should keep in mind that underspending is determined not by fund releases but by obligations and disbursements. And based on my research, is there underspending? Yes!” Lacson said in an interview on Radyo 5.
The President got his information all mixed up. I am not the Senator who claimed there was underspending under the Bayanihan fund. I’m quite sure because I don’t have the data on the matter, and I don’t speak without basis. Some other legislators did.
My speech before the Rotary Club last Friday dealt with pre-pandemic budget underspending from 2017 to 2019, on the annual average of P331 billion against our yearly gross borrowings of almost P1 trillion during the same period. Nothing to do with Bayanihan.
With that said, I cannot emphasize enough the need for the proper spending of our limited resources, regardless of whether these are from the Bayanihan or not. Our national debt has ballooned to P11.07 trillion as of end-May. Each one of us, even those newly born, is in debt by P100,000. We must make sure taxpayers’ money will be used judiciously.
And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, there is no room to mix business and health, especially during a time of extreme emergency like the pandemic.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible challenge vs Anti-Terror Bill before the Supreme Court [14:31]
* Sen. Drilon voted yes to anti-terror bill [7:04]
* blame game in COVID health workers’ P1M death benefits [29:53]
* Sec. Duque’s other obligations to health workers under Bayanihan Act [35:39]
* ‘removal’ of safeguard vs overpricing in Bayanihan 2 [44:33]