Zubiri insists Senate pushed for higher ‘Bayanihan 2’ funding

Published August 9, 2020, 12:06 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri on Sunday insisted that the Senate wanted a higher allocation for the proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2 but was constrained to do so.

Zubiri said the Senate would have passed a P300-billion to P500-billion budget allocation for Bayanihan 2, believing Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto’s estimate that the P140-billion they approved was only worth of a one-month’s salary of government employees.

But Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said that the amount the Senate passed was all the government can approve.

“Yun lang daw ang kaya nilang i-budget or pondohan sa kakulangan ng pera. Kung masyadong malaki, baka ma-veto lang dahil hindi kaya i-budget (He said that’s the amount the government can budget or allocate. If it goes higher, it could be vetoed because we lack budget),” Zubiri pointed out during an interview over GMA News TV.

Nevertheless, he said, the Senate would be waiting for the House of Representatives to finish its own version of the measure, which it is set to approve this week.

The House’s version of the Bayanihan 2 proposes a higher funding of P162-billion. Zubiri said both houses of Congress will convene a bicameral conference committee to thresh out the disagreeing provisions in their versions.

After the measure is passed, Zubiri said the Senate will proceed to deliberate the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives Enterprises (CREATE). The measure was formerly known as the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act (CITIRA).

The proposed CREATE law seeks to reduce corporate income tax to 25 percent from the current 35 percent.

Zubiri said lawmakers had to recalibrate the measure due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the industries and small and medium businesses in the country.

Aside from the Bayanihan 2, Zubiri said the DOF is asking the Senate to expedite the passage of the CREATE bill.