The six-man Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives said Thursday that the P162-billion COVID-19 response fund under the Bayanihan 2 bill is too little to respond the country’s pandemic recovery needs.
ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro and Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said they no longer expect that proposed “Bayanihan: We Recover as One” bill or the Bayanihan 2, which was passed on second reading by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night, will provide relief to the people and fully address the country’s deteriorating financial health.
“Hindi ito makakasagot sa recovery ng ating ekonomiya (This will not help expedite the recovery of our economy). Ang aming critique dito (Our observation here) ay nakapakaliit (this is too little) para ‘dun sa lumalalang problema natin sa health (to address the worsening health problem) at lumalalang problema sa ekonomiya (worsening economic problem),” Castro said.
Gaite described the amount proposed under the Bayanihan 2 as “crumb” and it would not help the people get back on their feet and help the country recover from the pandemic.
“Malinaw na napakaliit ang halagang inilalaan (It is clear that what is earmarked is too small), recovery na dapat ito (this should focus on recovery) unlike noong (that) BAHO (Bayanihan to Heal as One) 1 na (which is) supposedly healing na hindi naman nag heal (which did not heal) ngayon (which is now) recovery, and (for) recovery, mas kailangan ng mas malaking gastusin para masuportahan (more money should be spent to support the recovery efforts),” he said.
“Mumo lang itong ibibigay ngayon na ang gobyerno para sa ating mamamayan (This is just a crumb that the government will give to our people) na naghihikahos (who are suffering) bunga ng matinding epekto ng (due to the impact of the) COVID- 19,” he said.
Gaite said he expects that the Bayanihan 2 is also bound to fail just like the previous Bayanihan to Heal as One Law, which was passed by Congress last March 23 to grant President Duterte additional authority to combat the pandemic.
“Kung kaya’t makikita natin kung (That’s why we see) anong sablay nung nakita natin nung BAHO 1 (the lapses committed during the implementation of the BAHO 1) mauulet lamang dito sa sa bagong panukalang batas (will be repeated in this new law),” he said.
The House passed House Bill No. 6953 or the proposed P162-billion Bayanihan 2 in response to Duterte’s call on Congress during the State-of-the-Nation Address on July 27 to pass the law that would “prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and speed up our country’s recovery from the pandemic.”
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said they demanded the Executive to report on how it spent the almost P300 billion allocated for the implementation of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.
“Bago pag-usapan ang bagong batas (Before we talked about the new law), Bayanihan Act to Recover as One, kailangan muna siguro mag-ulat ang Ehekutibo (The Executive should first report on), paano ang ginawa nila (how did they spend it), ano ba ang ginawa nila (what did they do) sa (with the) Bayanihan to Heal as One [Act], paano ginugol ang pondo na yun (how did they spend the funds). Dahil mas mataas ‘yun (Because it is much higher), hindi hamak na mas malaki ang ibinigay ng Kongreso duon (the Congress allocated much bigger budget for that), almost P300 billion ang pondong inilaan (has been allocated) para sana gumaling, to heal as one ang ating bayan (to heal our nation as one),” he said.
He noted that in June, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P3.78 trillion or 92.3 percent of the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.
Gabriela partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas said, “Wala naman nangyaring pag-heal sa (There was no healing in the) Bayanihan to Heal As One kaya ano ang rerecover natin sa (what are we going to recover in the) Bayanihan to Recover as One ngayon (now).”