Congressional oversight

IT IS TIME to summon to Congress the implementors of the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act. Enough time has passed since Congress approved Republic Act 11469. The implementers should appear soon before the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.

The written reports are not enough. Congressional oversight is a constitutional way to hold the officials and agencies accountable. This is best exercised through public hearings and plenary sessions.

It is understood that Malacañang prefers to extend the Bayanihan Act for three more months. Cash aid must continue to be distributed to the poor and special risk allowance must be released to health workers on top of their hazard pay. We want to know why the reason for the delayed release of the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

On July 26, President Rodrigo Duterte is set to report to the Filipino people through the State of the Nation Address. Before that day comes, Congress must know from the Bayanihan Act implementors and COVID-19 response agencies the state of the health of the Filipino people.

We are worried about the health of our country now, more than ever. The results of COVID-19 testing show the quarantine measures are not completely containing the spread of the coronavirus.

Although the death toll has subsided and there are much fewer critical cases and severe cases, we still have thousands of new confirmed cases every week. The curative side is working, but the preventive dimension is full of holes.

Clearly, most of the new cases involve adults who are allowed to go out of their homes to work. They get infected while at work or while commuting to and from work. There is a gap that is not being addressed. Minimum health standards at workplaces are inadequate. Infections from outside the home are brought home.

Workers and COVID-19 implementors must take more aggressive measures to keep COVID-19 out of homes and out of workplaces.