President signs into law Bayanihan 2

A measure providing a multibillion peso fund to strengthen the government’s coronavirus pandemic response and recovery efforts has been signed into law by President Duterte.

(Photo from Sen Bong Go.)

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has confirmed the signing of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 on Friday, Sept. 11. Photos of the President signing the landmark measure were also released by his former assistant and now Senator Christopher Go.

The Bayanihan 2 measure, passed by the two houses of Congress, provides a P165.5 billion fund, including P140 billion in regular appropriation with P25.5 billion in standby funds.

The new law is expected to finance several government programs such as improvement of health care resources, cash-for-work program, agriculture support, assistance to industries affected by the pandemic, and procurement of coronavirus vaccines.

The Palace expressed gratitude to Congress for the passage of the Bayanihan 2 bill, saying it would help strengthen the health sector and revitalize the country’s growth. 

"We thank the leaders of both Houses of Congress for their display of statesmanship by their swift passage of this important piece of legislation,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement Friday night.

"We consider the Bayanihan II crucial in our efforts to gradually re-open the economy, support businesses and revitalize growth as we make our country resilient to COVID-19 by strengthening our health sector, particularly our healthcare capacity and pandemic response,” he added.

The Palace earlier announced that the bulk of the Bayanihan 2 funds will go to the capital infusion for government financial institutions with P39.472 billion.

Around P24 billion will be used for assistance to agriculture sector while P13.5 billion will be spent on the emergency hiring of health workers. The government also intends to use P13 billion to implement cash-for-work program and other support programs and P9.5 billion to assist the transportation sector.

At least P6 billion will finance Department of Social Welfare and Development programs, P4 billion for Department of Education's alternative learning program, and P4.10 billion for the tourism industry.

Around P5 billion will be set aside 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.

At least 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 response program.

The measure 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 (TESDA), P600 million for subsidies and allowances to qualified students, P300 million for subsidies and alliances 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 local government unit 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 Regulatory Commission's computer-based licensure exams.

The standby fund includes an allocation of P10 billion for COVID testing and procurement of medicines and vaccines.