House forms panel in bicameral committee to draft Bayanihan II bill

The House of Representatives formed on Tuesday the nine-man panel that will represent the chamber in the bicameral conference committee that will reconcile the two versions of the vaunted Bayanihan to Recover as One Bill (Bayanihan II).

        The group will be composed of Deputy Speakers Raneo Abu (NP, Batangas);  and Luis Raymond Villafuerte (NUP, Camarines Sur);  Reps. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (NP, Bulacan); Eric Go Yap (ACT CIS Partylist); Teodorico Haresco (NUP, Aklan); Wilter Wee Palma II (Lakas-CMD, Zamboanga Sibugay); Junie Cua (NUP, Quirino); Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA Partylist).

Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo will represent the minority bloc.

Not in the list is Albay Rep. Joey Sarte-Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.  Salceda is a principal author of the bill.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the Bayanihan II is a response to “the bigger challenge of remaking our society” and “spreading the wealth” to underdeveloped areas of the country.

The House version of the bill proposes a P162-billion package to finance government’s programs in resuscitating the economy and address public health concerns amid the COVID 19 pandemic.

“We want Bayanihan II to be a living piece of legislation that will empower our industries and revitalize sectors of society that have been decimated by the virus, or were otherwise forgotten and neglected in the past,”  said Cayetano on Monday.

“We have placed public health, MSMEs, OFWs, our athletes, the creative industry, social amelioration, and jobs, jobs, jobs at its center,” he said.

The House version targets agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing sectors as recipients of Bayanihan 2 program.

Cayetano admitted that the Bayanihan 2 will be a fitting stop-gap measure to the adverse effects of the pandemic.

 “All that the government has done or can do will be for nothing if we, as individuals, fail to do our part,” he said.

He also expressed faith in the Filipino people who he said can find the discipline and spirit of unity that is vital to save lives and livelihoods,” he said.