Bayanihan 1 “barely made a dent”; fishers warn vs corruption in Bayanihan 2

Bayanihan 1 “barely made a dent”; fishers warn vs corruption in Bayanihan 2

Manila, Philippines — Before the approval of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 with P162B budget, a group of fisherfolk demands the government to render a transparent and comprehensive report on its disbursement and expenses of the P275-billion Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (BAHO) or Bayanihan 1 which ended on June.

In a statement, the militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said that poor Filipinos, especially fishers and farmers in the countryside, didn’t actually recover from the onslaught of pandemic embedded with total lockdown despite the billions of budget supposedly for “recovery”.

“The poor Filipinos for months of an enhanced community quarantine barely felt the Bayanihan 1, we are devastated as it is. It seems that the government’s pandemic recovery program was actually a “Bayanihan to Steal as One” for unscrupulous and corrupt officials,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement, referring to the recent corruption scandal involving the government-owned insurance corporation.

PAMALAKAYA said that the “contracted economy” during the pandemic is an indicator that the government’s recovery program “barely made a dent”. The country’s economy posted a historical 16.5% decline in GDP growth for the 2nd quarter, which is lowest since 1981.

The fisherfolk group said that the corruption in the Philippine Health and Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) exposes the “highly-corrupt, opportunistic, and immoral regime”.

“The PhilHealth scandal is a manifestation of an infrastructural corruption that is pandemic to the Duterte government. And we deserve nothing but transparency and accountability before they approve another billions of budget that could be another milking cow,” Hicap eadded.

PAMALAKAYA said that the Bayanihan 2, if approved, should directly proceed to the poor families, including food security frontliners, in a form of economic aid and livelihood recovery to continue with the “wheels of food production”. ###

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