President Duterte on Monday (March 30) warned officials who will embezzle funds meant for programs to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that they will be promptly arrested and detained.
In a taped message aired late Monday night, Duterte said those that will be reported to have misused parts of the P275-billion emergency funds will also be suspended.
“Kung mamumulitika ka tapos mabalittan ko na ‘yun ang ginawa mo, I will suspend you ora mismo…I will detain you, and maybe I will release you pagkatapos ng Covid. Hindi ako nananakot,” the President said.
Duterte signed into law last March 24 Republic Act 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan Act).
He said he already issued the executive order detailing how the government will use the emergency funds granted by Congress to the Executive Branch via the Bayanihan Act.
Duterte said the money will go to the cash subsidy to the families affected by the lockdown, purchase of medical equipment and other needs to strengthen the country’s health system, and initiatives to shield the economy from the negative impact of COVID-19.
He again thanked health workers in the frontline of the fight against the spread of the disease.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa hlahat ng ating mga doktor who are honest at talagag nagtratrabaho; sa inyo po personal kong gratitude na hindi mababayaran ng pera. Nagpapasalamat din ang tao bayan sa inyo, salamat po,” Duterte said, “at ako ay regularly makipag-usap sa inyo until this crisis is over. Huwag kayong matakot ngayon, may pera ako; kung may palpak man diyan ay aayusin namin.”
Duterte also identified and personally thanked the private companies and individuals who are donating massively to the government and private institutions that are involved in the coronavirus programs.