Palace awaits passage in House of Bayanihan 2

Published August 24, 2020, 7:02 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is looking forward to the congressional passage of the proposed Bayanihan 2 measure to help facilitate the country’s economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic. 


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act may reach President Duterte’s office by Tuesday since the House of Representatives is expected to ratify the bill on Monday.  

The Senate, he noted, has already ratified the consolidated version of the bill approved by the bicameral conference committee.

“Mataas po ang ating kumpiyansa na malaki ang maitutulong ng Bayanihan 2 sa muling pagbangon ng ating ekonomiya (Our confidence is high the Bayanihan 2 can greatly help with the recovery of our economy),” Roque said during a Palace press briefing Monday.

“I believe the earliest that it can reach the desk of the President will be tomorrow (Tuesday),” he added.

In the Bayanihan 2 bill ratified by the Senate, Roque said the measure provides a P140-billion in regular appropriation with P25.5 billion in standby funds.The total amount of the proposed stimulus bill is P165.5 billion.

The measure aims to bankroll various programs such as improvement of health care resources, assistance to industries and workers affected by the pandemic, and procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

The country has so far recorded more than 190,000 cases of coronavirus while suffering an economic downturn 
as a result of the previous strict lockdown to curb the outbreak. The government has gradually eased the lockdown restrictions to revive the economy while stepping up health protocols such as testing and quarantine to protect public health.

In his briefing Monday, Roque gave a breakdown of the allocations in the Bayanihan 2 proposal ratified by the Senate, that included P39.472 billion for capital infusion for government financial institutions, P24 billion for assistance to agriculture sector, P13.5 billion for the emergency hiring of health workers, P13 billion for cash-for-work program and other support programs, and P9.5 billion for the transport sector.

The Bayanihan 2 measure also proposes P6 billion for Department of Social Welfare and Development programs, P4 billion for Department of Education’s alternative learning program, and P4 billion for the tourism industry.

The bill also provides the allocation of P5 billion for the hiring of contact tracers, P4.5 billion for the construction of quarantine and isolation facilities, dormitories for frontliners and expansion of government hospital capacity, and P3 billion for the procurement of face masks, personal protection equipment sets, and face shields.

Another P4.5 billion will be spent for the construction and maintenance of isolation facilities, including billing of hotels, food and transportation under the government’s COVID-19 response program.

The bill also allots P3 billion for assistance of state universities and colleges in the development of smart campuses, P1 billion for scholarship funds of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, P600 million for subsidies and allowances to qualified students, P300 million for subsidies of displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel, and P100 million for the training and subsidies of tourist guides.

At least P2 billion will be used to subsidize payment of interest on LGU loans from Land Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines, P1.5 billion to assist local government units,  P820 million to aid affected overseas Filipino workers, and P180 million to provide allowance of national athletes and coaches, P15 million to establish a research facility in UP Diliman, P10 million to carry out COVID-19 research, and P2.5 million to facilitate Professional Regulation Commission’s computer-based licensure exams.

The standby fund includes P10 billion for COVID-19 testing and procurement of medicines and vaccines.