By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Nearing expiration, Malacañang confirmed that the P18 billion COVID-19 response funds under Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 were still unused.

"Tama po na mayroon pa tayong P18.4 billion or 13 percent na hindi pa nao-obligate," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing, quoting sources from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Albay Representative Joey Salceda earlier called for a special session for the extension of the validity of Bayanihan 2. He also warned if the law expires, the funding for contact tracers and other sectors will not be disbursed.

The Congress has been under recess until July 26 ahead of the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Moreover, Roque said he would ask Duterte on whether or not he will order a special session of Congress.

"We respect po the wisdom of Congress dahil sila naman po talaga ang nagbibigay ng polisiya,” he said.

Report source: ABS-CBN News