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Abante: We need FOI law to prevent corruption of Bayanihan 2 funds

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House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. on Wednesday urged the government to properly monitor the use of funds Congress has allocated for its Covid-19 response.

The Manila lawmaker said on Wednesday that this together with the passage of a Freedom of Information (FOI) measure would help prevent the misuse and abuse of funds meant to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Speaking to reporters at the minority bloc’s weekly press briefing, Abante said that with the passage of the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, or Bayanihan 2, Congress has given the government “additional resources in its battle against Covid-19, more ammunition in its war against this dreaded virus.”

“We urge our coworkers in the Executive to make the most of these funds. Bantayan sana nila ng masinsinan upang magamit ang pondo ng maayos.”

The lawmaker pointed out that even the President had revealed that the government’s financial resources were insufficient, “so we hope they properly monitor the use of these funds and come down hard on misuse, misappropriation, and corruption.”

According to Abante, this would be an opportune time to revisit the FOI measures, as an FOI act would guarantee more transparency in the disbursement and use of public funds, especially those being mobilized to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak.

A former chairperson of the House committee on public information, Abante is a longtime advocate of FOI legislation.

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