Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado had said that the executive branch could request a supplemental budget because the country does not have new revenue sources and excess tax collections.
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Palace in no hurry to pass Bayanihan Act 2
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is no need to rush the passage of a bill extending the Bayanihan Act as the government still has enough resources to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the executive branch has not requested the holding of a special session to pass the Bayanihan Act extension because the measure can be tackled when Congress resumes session later this month.

“There is no need to rush because we already have everything we need for COVID-19... It does not have to happen overnight. I hope it happens soon, but for now, we do not have a request for a special session,” Roque said at a press briefing yesterday.

“It seems that Bayanihan 2 can be discussed during the regular congress because after all, (the) state of the nation (address) is just around the corner in July,” he added.

Congress adjourned last month without passing the bill extending the Bayanihan Act, a law that granted President Duterte additional powers to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

The bill, which allowed the President to realign funds to support pandemic-related measures, expired last June 25. ?Roque earlier said that members of the economic team are working with lawmakers to thresh out a proposal to fund a stimulus package to revive the pandemic-battered economy.

“We are making sure that we have enough funds for the stimulus package. The position of (Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez is we can only afford up to P140 billion. I think that will be realized,” Roque said.

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado had said that the executive branch could request a supplemental budget because the country does not have new revenue sources and excess tax collections.

State revenues have taken a hit because of quarantine restrictions that forced thousands of businesses to close shop. The combined collections of the internal revenue and customs bureaus from January to May decreased to P874.91 billion, 24.83 percent short of what was collected in the same period last year.

Government and Senate leaders are expected to meet in the coming days to try to work on a final bill to replace the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act before Congress formally tackles it in special or regular session, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

Malacañang submitted yesterday to Sotto and Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the finance committee, a list of amendments to the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 for lawmakers to study.

Sotto said the submission was in response to the Senate’s request to hold preliminary meetings first to speed up plenary proceedings when the measure is to be tackled on the floor. Paolo Romero

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