Strong support, swift passage of Bayanihan 3 expected in Lower House

Published May 3, 2021, 6:41 PM

by Ben Rosario

Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas on Monday, May 3, expressed confidence that the proposed Bayanihan 3 law will get strong support and will likely be passed swiftly as soon as regular sessions resume on May 16.

`Vargas, chairman of the House Committee on Social Services and a co-author of the bill, said the measure guarantees financial aid to millions of Filipinos battling the adverse effects of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“With the Bayanihan 3 approved at committee level, and with the full backing of the House members, I am very optimistic, as chair of the House Social Services Committee, that we will be able to extend to our people the economic and social support that they urgently need during this period of uncertainty,” Vargas said.

Together with the Committee on Economic Affairs, the social services panel approved the measure during a virtual joint hearing last Friday.

The Committee on Ways and Means unanimously endorsed enactment of the measure on Monday.

The bill will consolidate six separate legislative proposals seeking to address the distressing consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic on the economy and livelihood of Filipinos.

Among the salient features of the bill is the distribution by government of P1,000 to P2,000 in cash aid to all Filipinos. A P10,000 assistance will also be given families affected by strict quarantine restrictions.

Vargas said he is confident that the approval of the measure will be a priority of the House once it reconvenes on May 16.

A Technical Working Group (TWG) had consolidated all related bills into the Bayanihan 3 bill, titled “An Act Providing for Additional Mechanisms to Bolster the Resiliency of the Philippine Economy and Providing Funds Therefore,” or the proposed “Bayanihan to Arise as One” Act.

Vargas cited several provisions in the consolidated bill which he said addresses the needs of affected sectors, particularly workers who have lost their jobs, and vulnerable sectors in need of government aid.

The bill also provides livelihood assistance through an additional P12 Billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, P8 billion in wage subsidies under the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program of the Department of Finance (DOF), P10 billion in assistance for displaced workers through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) It also suspends the collection of amortization payments for those living in government housing programs, and imposes a “no eviction or demolition policy” until the State of Public Health Emergency declared by the national government is lifted.

Vargas added that the bill offers an array of assistance to ensure food security and provide for the health needs of citizens.

This includes the allocation of P3 billion for the Medical Assistance for Indigents Program (MAIP) of the Department of Health (DOH), free swab tests for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and allowing the use of private sector facilities for public health needs during the pandemic.

A P54.6 billion for the Pension and Gratuity Fund of Military Uniformed Personnel, and P5.6 billion for the information technology needs of the Department of Education (DepEd)