Party leaders sign Manifesto of Unity to ensure swift passage of Bayanihan II

BY

Leaders of political parties represented in the House of Representatives vowed to join hands in ensuring the swift passage of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II). 

MANILA BULLETIN FILE

Party leaders signed the Manifesto of Unity as the Lower House unanimously passed the Bayanihan II proposal or House Bill 6953 on Wednesday.

The Senate has already approved on third and final reading its version of the proposed Bayanihan II law.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the manifesto is the House leadership’s way of assuring the country’s healthcare workers that, like President Duterte, “we hear your urgent pleas.”

 “We need the true spirit of Bayanihan to sustain us,” Cayetano said in a statement .

The Manifesto of Unity contained a declaration of commitment of the various political parties and partylist organizations in the Lower House to pass the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan) II at the soonest time possible.

Aside from the House leader, other signatories of the manifesto included: Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Rep. Wilter Wee Palma for Lakas-CMD; Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago; Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., National Unity Party;  Edgar Erice,  Liberal Party;  Weslie Gatchalian, Nationalist People’s Coalition; Sharon Garin, Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc;  Deputy Speakers Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales Jr, PDP-Laban; and Raneo "Ranie" Abu, Nacionalista Party.

"We, the leaders of political parties and party-list organizations in the House of Representatives, join the Filipino nation in solidarity as we continue our collective action to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the country, with the hope to mitigate the pandemic's impact on people's lives," the House leaders said.

"Under President Duterte's leadership, and with the people's overwhelming support to all his undertakings, we trust that we shall overcome this crisis and stand stronger as a nation," they added.

Cayetano lauded the country’s healthcare workers and frontliners for working continuously since the pandemic started, saying it is their light “that has inspired us and kept us going.”

But noting that the strain of having to work practically non-stop, with no end in sight, is taking its toll on healthcare workers, Cayetano said it is “time for us in government to take up the slack and ensure that these heroes are provided with the right support to enable them to continue doing their duty.

He said as part of Bayanihan II, the House of Representatives is allocating P10.5 billion to the Department of Health (DOH) which will be used for the continuous employment of  present emergency healthcare workers as well as to hire more personnel to ease the burden on the struggling medical corps and augment the operations of DOH-run hospitals.

“We are also earmarking P10,000 risk allowances for private sector healthcare workers who are treating COVID-19 patients and a monthly COVID-19 special risk allowance for all public health workers for every month that they have been serving for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in addition to their existing hazard pay,” he added.

Cayetano said Bayanihan II will also provide free life insurance for all healthcare workers — both in the public and private sector — as well as free accommodation, transportation, and meals while they are on duty. 

He said because the risk of transmission among frontliners is much higher, the government shall compensate those who will contract mild or critical symptoms with P100,000. Those whose illness will result in death will receive P1 million.