President Rodrigo Duterte assured the public on Monday that funds allocated and realigned for the government’s Covid-19 efforts under the two Bayanihan laws have been spent accordingly.

“Ito namang pera ng Bayanihan Act, I assure you, that it was spent wisely, it was spent according to rules. At sinigurado ko ‘yan at the start. Wala hong ano diyan, sindikato. Wala hong, sabihin mo na may nakawan,” Duterte said.

The first Bayanihan act signed last March allowed Duterte to realign the national budget for the country’s Covid-19 response.

It also allowed for the distribution of financial assistance to poor households under a social amelioration program.

The Bayanihan 2 Act, signed last Sept. 11, allotted P140 billion in regular appropriations and P25.5 billion in standby funding.

Malacañang earlier affirmed that the Duterte administration would submit a monthly expenditure report to Congress on its use of Bayanihan funds.

The P140 billion in regular appropriations under Bayanihan 2 allots budgets for the government’s cash-for-work programs, the hiring of emergency human resources for health, the construction of isolation facilities, capital infusions into government banks, allowance for national athletes and coaches, and subsidies for students, among others.

Meanwhile, the P25.5 billion standby fund will be utilized for Covid-19 testing, medication and vaccine procurement and additional capital infusion into Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines.

Duterte raised the possibility of a third Bayanihan law taking effect after Bayanihan 2’s effectivity lapses on Dec. 19.

“We will be careful with the next round of Bayanihan. Is it [Bayanihan] 3? There’s still money to be, well, given to the people. To the poor, especially,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro