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Duterte holds self responsible for accounting of billions of COVID-19 funds

President Rodrigo Duterte has assured the public that the billions of pesos the government is spending to address the COVID-19 pandemic will be accounted for.

“Huwag kayo mag-alala, lahat ng nagastos rito sa fight against COVID-19 ay maa-account. I will hold myself responsible,” Duterte said in a public address that was taped Monday night and aired Tuesday morning.

“It is my solemn duty to answer for and in behalf of the executive department of all the funds spent for our fight against COVID-19. This is not a blank check,” he added.

The President then said that he will even endorse the filing of charges against individuals who will be found guilty of fund misuse by the Department of Justice.

“We have to spend, but we have to spend wisely and correctly. Ang amin, iiwan na lang ang trabaho kasi pagharap namin sa Diyos [at tanungin ako ng], 'O, Rodrigo, anong ginawa mo?' Ginawa ko naman lahat,” Duterte pointed out. 

Congress has initially passed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which allowed the President to realign P275 billion of the 2020 national budget to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

This month, Congress also ratified Bayanihan 2 which again gave the government P165 billion of funding to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Given the billions of funds, the President then assured the public that Congress is free to scrutinize such COVID-19 fund. 

“Congress is free to create an oversight committee. Kahit ano pang committee to report weekly, para may trabaho tayo lahat. Walang problema ‘yan,” Duterte said. 

“I am urging Congress …I am [even] demanding Congress to join us imploring measures to ensure the money is well spent. We must participate in everything [of an initiative] that will prevent corruption,” Duterte added.

The Philippines has recorded 194,252 COVID-19 cases as of Monday. Of this number, 132,042 recovered, while 3,010 died.

The number of active COVID-19 cases is at 59,200. —KBK/KG, GMA News