Unutilized Bayanihan 2 fund is being considered for ROF quarantine costs

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte urged on Monday that the unobligated funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) be used to pay for facility-based quarantine of all returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

Duterte raised the notion of paying for the quarantine expenses of ROFs in his pre-recorded Talk to the People in Davao City, adding that many of them returned home since they lost their employment.

“Congress appropriated so much money for Bayanihan [2]. I think if may residual pa diyan naiwan (if there are some funds left), it behooves upon the government to pay for the sequestration expenses of every returning Filipino,” he said.

Duterte assured that the government will plan for ROF accommodation as quickly as feasible.

“I am ordering now everybody including the government units i-hotel nila o ano man, babayaran ng national government ‘yan (their hotels will be paid for by the national government). As to when there is money and we will do it as fast as we can,” he said.

He stated that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) might expedite the process of ensuring that all ROFs are properly accommodated during their quarantine period.

“Maybe the DSWD will take care of that or the DILG para mabayaran (so that it will be paid for). I will order to hasten para mawala yung (to remove the) dynamics about the expenses of keeping them in sequestration,” he added.

In a recent Palace press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque acknowledged that PHP18.4 billion remained unobligated under the Bayanihan 2.

However, Roque said he has yet to know whether Duterte will ask for a special session to extend the law’s legality.

After expiring on Dec. 19, 2020, Bayanihan 2 was extended till June 30 this year.

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