House panel urges immediate discussion of Bayanihan 3 measure

Published December 2, 2020, 3:39 PM

by Ben Rosario

The House Committee on Economic Affairs has underscored the need to immediately deliberate on the pending bill proposing the passage of a Bayanihan 3 law to further accelerate efforts toward economic recovery and socio-economic relief amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO

Committee chairman Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco said the House panel will give the pending measure priority status even as he congratulated authors for filing two versions of Part 3 of the successful Bayanihan laws implemented following the COVID-19 crisis.

In a virtual committee hearing Tuesday, the House panel unanimously agreed to create a technical working group that will consolidate the two pending bills.

Haresco is confident that the final version of the bill will get the support of various concerned government agencies, saying that the House leadership under Speaker Lord Allan Velasco is also optimistic of passage of the measure.

The senior administration lawmaker said the TWG buckle down to work quickly since the road towards full economic recovery should have some assurance in 2021.

The five-hour hearing gave the measure much optimism of approval as Haresco urged various sectors in government to air their comments to make the final bill more responsive to the needs of the country as various COVID-19 vaccines showed encouraging clinical trial results.

Senior administration congressmen filed House Bill 8059 or the Bayanihan to Rebuild as One Act proposing a P247-billion fund to hasten economic recovery while protecting the population with COVID-19 immunization vaccines.

HB 8059 was filed by Majority Leader Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speaker and Aambis-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin, and Albay Rep. Joey Sarte-Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Economic Affairs.

Opposition Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo of Marikina City filed House Bill 8031 containing an additional P400-billion funding for COVID-19 response and disaster resiliency programs.

However, Department of Finance Assistant Secretary Ma. Teresa Habitan said the department’s attention is on how well the various government agencies will spend allocations to address the need for swift economic recovery next year.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar lauded the House for making extending the Bayanihan concept.

Dar noted that aside from the economic damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the three typhoons that recently pummeled the country have caused a total P16.2-billion destruction in terms of agriculture production and infrastructure.

The DA chief called on lawmakers to consider the level of funding support for agri-fisheries sector at P50 billion.

The Department of Agrarian Reform, represented in the hearing by Undersecretary Luis Pagulayan, aired support for a consolidated Bayanihan 3 bill.

The Department of Budget and Management noted that finding a funding source will be a vital issue in pursuing the measure.

Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte of the Department of Trade and Industry said DTI is fully backing the measure as it noted that the “end goal is reviving the economy and boosting resiliency” in the various sectors.

 
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