Press Release
January 7, 2021

Bong Go welcomes laws extending effectivity of Bayanihan 2 and GAA, urges agencies to safeguard funds and ensure that services reach those who need help the most

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go welcomed the signing of Republic Act No. 11519 and RA No. 11520 which seek to ensure the continued implementation of government services and programs to address the COVID-19 pandemic by extending the effectivity of RA 11494 or the 'Bayanihan to Recover as One Act', and RA 11465 or the 'General Appropriations Act of 2020', respectively, until 2021.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law both measures on December 29.

"Every single peso counts, especially in times of crisis. Any delay in the implementation of government programs and aid to affected sectors will be detrimental to the country's path to recovery," said Go.

The Department of Budget and Management had identified a total of P156 billion in unreleased appropriations that were set to be reverted into the National Treasury upon the laws' expiration in 2020.

To ensure the executive branch's continued access to the funds in 2021, Go urged President Duterte last December to certify the following measures as urgent: (1) House Bill No. 8063 which extends the effectivity of the Bayanihan 2 until June 30, 2021, and (2) H.B. 6656 which extends the availability of the 2020 appropriations until December 31, 2021.

The measures were immediately approved by the House of Representatives on December 14 upon certification and adopted by the Senate the following day.

With the measures' enactment, the Senator reminded concerned agencies to put a stop to any fraudulent and inappropriate practice by strictly ensuring that public funds are spent appropriately and results to services felt by those who need government attention the most.

He emphasized that government services and programs must be adequately financed so that ordinary Filipinos, regardless of their geographic location and socioeconomic status, would benefit from them especially during this challenging time.

"Uulitin ko ang lagi kong pinapaalala sa ating mga executive agencies: Siguraduhin natin na magagamit ang pera ng bayan ng tama. Siguraduhin natin na makakarating ang tulong sa pinaka-nangangailangan at pinaka-apektado nating mga kababayan. At siguraduhin natin na walang pinipiling oras ang ating pagtulong at pagserbisyo sa bayan," appealed Go.

The Bayanihan 2 expired last December 19, 2020. It augmented the agencies' initial COVID-19 response-related budgets and sought to strengthen the national healthcare system. It also provided financial relief to individuals and industries facing deep losses from the impacts of the pandemic, among other interventions.

Additionally, many government projects under the 2020 GAA, which was set to expire on December 31, 2020, were delayed as the result of the imposition of community quarantine measures.

"We are on a long road towards recovery, and we must still grapple with the economic effects of the global health crisis," said Go.

Go further urged agencies to institute the necessary reforms to improve the efficiency in spending their budgets in order not to pass on the burden to fellow Filipinos who are already finding ways to make ends meet amid the adverse socio-economic impacts of crises currently encountered.

"The government, as a whole, must do its best to unburden Filipinos while ensuring public services are unhampered. Gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para mapagaan ang pinapasan ng taumbayan. Hirap na ang ating mga kababayan, huwag na natin silang mas pahirapan pa," Go said.

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