Senate eyes passage of ‘Bayanihan Law’ 2 to expand SAP coverage

Published May 5, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate is eyeing to pass another “Bayanihan to Heal as One” law to expand the government’s amelioration programs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri  (Senator Miguel Zubiri's Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri (Senator Miguel Zubiri’s Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said they are planning to come up with a “Bayanihan 2” to include micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as large-scale industries in the government’s assistance to sectors affected by the national health emergency.

The Bayanihan 2, he said, seeks to grant financial incentives to industries that are hard-hit by the new coronavirus outbreak and the resulting lockdown measures to contain it, such as the tourism and transportation sectors.

“I think our priority and focus should be how to resolve this problem of COVID-19 and how to help jump-start our economy, how to control the increase in poverty level dahil nga napakaraming nawalan ng trabaho (because many lost their jobs),” Zubiri said in an online interview Monday.

The new Bayanihan bill could also extend the duration and expand the coverage of the emergency subsidy program for displaced families.

“We’re also looking at lower-middle income families that are also affected…[but were] not covered by the [social amelioration program]…So we’d like to expand the next round to include these families,” he said.

Zubiri said the lawmakers may require a “100-percent distribution” of the subsidies under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act before they decide to come up with the Bayanihan 2.

He blamed local government units for the delay and confusion in the implementation of the emergency subsidy program.

“I’ve seen several [complaints] online, that the mayor allegedly received kickbacks, that residents were required to return their subsidies to the mayor. There were some who said the P5,000 subsidy were divided among families,” he said.

“The [DILG] should immediately file cases against these barangay officials who violated our social amelioration program. For me, there is a special place in hell for people who take advantage of situations like these,” Zubiri said.