Bayanihan 2 has non-monetary provisions for aid
The law grants President Duterte authority to undertake certain policies, and realign as much as P165 billion in pre-allocated funds in the 2020 General Appropriations Act to extend additional financial aid to medical frontliners and other sectors, as well as construct facilities and purchase supplies needed to fight the disease, which amount many lawmakers found too small.
KJ Rosales
Bayanihan 2 has non-monetary provisions for aid
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While only P165 billion was allocated for distressed sectors under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the newly signed law also has non-monetary provisions to strengthen the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease and help the economy recover.

The law grants President Duterte authority to undertake certain policies, and realign as much as P165 billion in pre-allocated funds in the 2020 General Appropriations Act to extend additional financial aid to medical frontliners and other sectors, as well as construct facilities and purchase supplies needed to fight the disease, which amount many lawmakers found too small.

The Department of Finance said it has only so much to spare, at least until yearend, to implement programs under the law dubbed “Bayanihan 2.”

Sen. Sonny Angara, who sponsored the measure in the Senate, said the law “will bridge the gap between now and January 2021 when the new General Appropriations Act (national budget) will be enacted.”

To provide relief for consumers, households and affected businesses, the bill provides for a one-time 60-day grace period for the payment of all loans falling due on or before Dec. 31, 2020.

Electric, water, telecommunications and other similar utilities are directed to provide a minimum 30-day grace period for the payment of bills falling due within the period of enhanced community quarantine or modified ECQ.

It also provides for a minimum 30-day grace period on residential and commercial rents of lessees not permitted to work, that fall due within the period of community quarantine.

“This provision in the bill will lessen the financial strain of the already overburdened Filipino families living in areas under ECQ or MECQ. For most of them, payment for utility bills eats up a big percentage of their monthly income and this is a relief to those having trouble making payments due to financial difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said yesterday.

The measure allows businesses to carry over their net operating loss for taxable years 2020 and 2021 as a deduction from gross income for the next five consecutive taxable years immediately following the year of such loss.

The law also provides that retirement benefits of private employees who retired between June 5 and Dec. 31 this year would be tax-free, a provision put in by Sen. Nancy Binay.

To help the country adapt to the “new normal,” including shifting to online services and platforms, work-from-home arrangements and distance learning, the law speeds up the process for the deployment of information and communications technology infrastructure, particularly cell towers, equipment, software and wireless technologies through the temporary suspension of permits and clearances in the next three years.

The provision was authored by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who lamented there are about 29 to 35 documentary requirements and permits before a single tower could be built in a subdivision, barangay or town.

There is also a provision against the issuance of any temporary restraining order or injunction against the construction of telecommunications infrastructure, including cell sites and cell towers by courts except for the Supreme Cour .— Helen Flores

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