DILG to return unused COVID-19 funds

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — The Department of the Interior and Local Government will be returning the unused funds intended for the hiring of contact tracers and the purchase of health-related products like alcohol and face masks.

During the first press briefing of newly appointed Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos on Monday, the DILG said the unobligated amount of ₱577 million was from the 2021 appropriations fund which i still valid for obligation until Dec. 31 this year.

According to the DILG, ₱436 million of the amount was from the continuing appropriations which was already reverted to the Bureau of Treasury pursuant to Bayanihan 2.

The DILG says the amount was not fully utilized because local government units hired their own contact tracers and provided shuttle services for the hired personnel.

"Aside from the contact tracers being given by the DILG out of our appropriations, LGUs also have their own contact tracers and augmenting the DILG contact tracers, hence savings and other unexpended balances," says DILG Assistant Secretary Ester Aldana.

The Commission on Audit earlier flagged the DILG for failing to make use of its P4.038 billion COVID-19 budget for 2021 with ₱577 million unused funds.

In the meantime, Abalos assured that while the unused funds did not happen under his term, he will have it checked and investigated further.