Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has assured the public that there are enough safeguards to ensure the transparency and accountability in the utilization of funds under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.
Cayetano made the remark amid fears of corruption in the implementation of the said measure once it becomes a law.
"We want to assure the public that Bayanihan 2 has enhanced the reportorial requirements to be submitted by the Executive agencies to ensure full transparency and accountability," Cayetano said in a statement on Saturday.
"The House of the People will continue to exercise its oversight functions to ensure that the Filipinos receive the best quality of services in the fastest and most efficient way. Iisa lang naman ang hangarin ng ating Pangulo at ng Kongreso: ang maibigay ‘yung aksyon at tulong na dapat matanggap ng ating mga kababayan," he added.
Under Section 14 of the proposed second Bayanihan Law, the President is mandated to submit to Congress and to the Commission on Audit (COA) a monthly report on the following:
- targets and actual accomplishments of government programs, strategies, plans, and efforts relative to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- relevant and more granulated health-related data and other such information that Congress and COA may require;
- terms and conditions of any loan entered into by the government to finance programs and projects to implement the law; and
- Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) tables for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health is tasked to present a report to Congress on its improved COVID-19 surveillance and control plan within a week from the law's effectivity.
The DOH report should detail information related to improvements to data monitoring and communication, instilling proper COVID-related conduct in the public, and controlling the spread of the virus particularly in areas with high disease transmission.
A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee will also be created composed of four members from the Senate and the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Senate President and the House Speaker.
Cayetano said Congress will continue to discuss how government officials could be held accountable even after the measure has passed “not for the sake of being accountable but to give people better services.”
"Our government has done a lot in terms of response, but we need to accelerate our recovery initiatives. As the House of the People, we will be the ones to make sure that our agencies have a concrete plan of action and ensure that these plans are being efficiently implemented," he added.
The proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act is now up for the President's signature after both the Senate and the House ratified the report of the bicameral conference committee on the said measure. —Erwin Colcol/KG, GMA News