Billions in unspent funds can be tapped in virus ‘war’ -- Legarda 

Loren Legarda
Loren Legarda

DEPUTY Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda revealed that there is an unspent fund from the unconditional cash transfer amounting to billions.

Legarda said these funds should be utilized for the mitigating measures in addressing coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

According to Legarda the amount is P56 billion intended for the unconditional cash transfer under the TRAIN Law.

Such money, Legarda said, can provide the poor Filipinos much needed assistance amid the enhanced community quarantine due to Covid-19 crisis.

Citing records from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Legarda said  there is an unspent funds of P18.7 billion from the 2019 General Appropriations Act for the unconditional cash transfer and an allocation of P36.4 billion for the same under the 2020 GAA. 

In addition, there is still P1.7 billion UCT to be distributed under the 2018 GAA or a   total of P56 billion funds are available.

“These funds can be expeditiously given out now, especially the 2018 and 2019 budget which should have been done by now,” Legarda noted.

The 2020 budget can be given out soon to avert hunger amid the crisis, she added.
 
With regards to the release, Legarda said this should not be delayed nor questioned because these are already legislated and appropriated.

The House leader then urged both the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to give the needed assistance to the poor in need during this time of crisis within the next few days.