Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Sunday, July 5, assured that there will still be communities that will receive government cash assistance once Congress is able to pass the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or “Bayanihan 2” into law.
Funds that would be approved under the Bayanihan 2, however, will be used to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were forced to shut down operations due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many are expecting if the government would still be giving SAP (under Bayanihan 2). Yes, but, it is intended only for those who are under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), and that’s only a few cities,” Angara said in an interview over television.
“For now, it is Cebu City. That’s the targeted beneficiary of the SAP (under Bayanihan 2), because it is under ECQ, so people there cannot go to work,” the Senate finance chief further clarified.
The rest of the cities that are under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) are already exempted from the government’s SAP.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had earlier said that the Executive branch will call for a special session of Congress to expedite the passage of the Bayanihan 2.
The Senate failed to pass the measure on third and final reading last June after Malacañang did not certify the bill as urgent.
According to Angara, once the Bayanihan 2 is enacted into law, the government will also prioritize giving financial assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs, health workers, and those in the agricultural sector, among others.
He said a P50-billion fund that would be approved under the proposed law will be set aside as an emergency subsidy for workers, including SAP; P15-billion will go to mass testing programs; while P10-billion will become capital infusion for government banks.
Funds would also be set aside as support programs for other impacted sectors like agriculture, which the government will support with a credit facility without any interest.
Angara, likewise, assured there would be sufficient budget to help the tourism sector, transport sector, and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
The government would also help finance the needs of the private schools who were affected by the COVID-19 crisis under the Bayanihan 2.
“We are ready anytime Malacañang calls for a special session. The Senate is ready since June to pass this measure into law,” the lawmaker said.