The Department of Finance (DOF) reported that the government has so far spent P352 billion out of the P397 billion budget to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to DOF Secretary Sonny Dominguez, the government still has “sufficient” cash. However, it cannot be used for the COVID-19 response alone.
“Sufficient po ang cash natin pero naiipit na po tayo sa budget allowance natin. Iyan po ang problema natin ngayon, may cash tayo pero wala tayong authority na gumastos nang ganoon kalaki (Our cash is sufficient, but our budget allowance limits us. That is our current problem, we have the cash, but we don’t have the authority to spend that much),” he said.
Dominguez also reported a decline in tax collection due to the COVID-19 situation. He added that the government has already used the budget collected from these taxes.
Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved around P76 billion loan to the Philippines as additional budget for the country’s response against the COVID-19 virus.
President Rodrigo Duterte also announced the government might temporarily suspend several Build Build Build projects to allocate it for the COVID-19 response budget.
“Tanggalan ko iyan ng mga proyekto dito sa highways. Sabihin ko kay Tugade, huwag na muna iyan para makapag-ipon (I will remove projects in highways. I will tell Tugadenot to continue the projects to collect [COVID-19] funds),” he said. –AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on whether to continue or modify the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine which will lapse on April 30.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said despite Monday’s discussions with health experts, congressional leaders and members of the Cabinet on the current state of the country in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the President did not give any final decision on the matter.
Roque said none of them recommended a total lockdown nor total lifting of the ECQ.
“Ang opsyon na lumabas kahapon, ipagpatuloy o hindi naman kaya i-relax, hindi naman kaya completely itigil ang ECQ sa iba’t ibang lugar ng bansa. Depende sa dami ng kaso ng COVID-19,” explained Roque.
[Among the options that were raised yesterday were either to continue, to relax or to completely lift ECQ in different parts of the country. It will depend on the number of COVID-19 cases.]
Among the personalities who attended the meeting in Malacañang were former Health Secretaries Dr. Esperanza Cabral and Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan together with public health experts Dr. Susan Mercado, Dr. Antony Leachon, and Dr. Mahar Lagmay, among others.
In the Philippines, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Metro Manila and in nearby areas like Bulacan, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (CALABARZON).
Metro cities like Cebu and Davao were also affected.
These major cities are also the country’s center of commerce and transportation, according.
Roque said the President is likely to decide once he received the complete recommendations of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 in collaboration with public health experts, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in line with the Luzon-wide ECQ. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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