House OKs P162 billion Bayanihan 2
Through a voice vote, the House plenary passed on second reading House Bill 6953, which provides for P162 billion in funding for COVID-19 response measures, including the continuation of the Social Amelioration Program.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, File
House OKs P162 billion Bayanihan 2
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - August 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved last night the proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan Act 2, which extends the implementation of measures to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

Through a voice vote, the House plenary passed on second reading House Bill 6953, which provides for P162 billion in funding for COVID-19 response measures, including the continuation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

The measure seeks to extend the measures provided in Republic Act 11469, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, until Sept. 30 after its expiration last month.

Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, co-author of HB 6953 who sponsored the bill on the floor, cited the need to “give continued special powers to the President to beat the pandemic, which, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), has reached a ‘dangerous’ stage of accelerated spread as governments across the world start relaxing mobility restrictions and reopening their economies.”

He said the Department of Health (DOH) would be given the bulk of the funds to better address the pandemic.

“Since billions of funds are funneled through the DOH, they should partner with (local government units), fully utilize them in terms of testing, treating and isolation,” the Camarines Sur lawmaker stressed in his sponsorship speech. “Since the technical know-how is with the DOH, the funds will be given to them and they should partner with LGUs in implementation of program.”

The House Committee on the Whole had passed the measure last June 3 before Congress adjourned sine die.

The proposed measure seeks the allocation of an additional P162 billion in funds for continuation of COVID-19 response measures, in addition to the P275-billion funding used under RA 11469, which was enacted last March.

Bayanihan 2 will also provide for the grant of P5,000 to P8,000 subsidy for low-income families, households with recently returned overseas workers, and no-work-no-pay individuals such as freelancers and self-employed individuals.

It also grants a one-month emergency subsidy to low-income households that were left out in the implementation of the SAP under the first Bayanihan Law.

Specifically, P20 billion will be allotted for the implementation of cash-for-work programs and the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), P5 billion for the implementation of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and P21 billion for unemployment or involuntary separation assistance to the displaced workers in health, education, tourism, culture and arts, creative industry, transportation and other sectors affected by the pandemic.

There will also be P51 billion for infusion of capital into government financial institutions, P20 billion support to the agriculture sector, P21 billion assistance to the critically impacted businesses in the transportation industry and for the development of accessible sidewalks and protected bicycle lanes, P10 billion for programs for the transport sector, and P10 billion to assist impacted businesses in the tourism industry.

The bill seeks to provide P10 billion for the procurement of swab polymerase chain reaction testing and extraction kits, supplies and materials for COVID-19 testing and for the enhancement of DOH capacity to provide healthcare services.

A third approval of the bill will formalize the passage of the bill by the House, for reconciliation with the Senate version.

BAYANIHAN ACT SOCIAL AMELIORATION PROGRAM
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