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Bayanihan 3 gains support from 224 House members
Velasco said House Bill 8628, co-authored by Deputy Minority Leader Stella Quimbo, now has 10 more principal authors, among them Senior Deputy Speaker Doy Leachon, Deputy Speakers Mikee Romero, Bernadette Herrera and Wes Gatchalian, among many others.
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Bayanihan 3 gains support from 224 House members

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s proposed P420-billion stimulus package, Bayanihan 3, gained more support from his colleagues at the House of Representatives and now includes 224 out of the 300-member legislative chamber.

Velasco said House Bill 8628, co-authored by Deputy Minority Leader Stella Quimbo, now has 10 more principal authors, among them Senior Deputy Speaker Doy Leachon, Deputy Speakers Mikee Romero, Bernadette Herrera and Wes Gatchalian, among many others.

“Bayanihan 3 will give our economy a big boost. It will encourage spending among consumers and boost the confidence of MSMEs and other businesses. The bill, coupled with other timely and precise interventions, will help us recover faster from this pandemic,” he said.

“I want to thank my colleagues for rising above party-lines and for always keeping Filipinos first as we unite to provide much-needed help to households and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Velasco added.

The measure is now pending at the House committee on economic affairs.

Under HB 8628, each household member will receive P1,000 regardless of their economic status. On top of this, a P1,000 allowance will be provided to each student and teacher, and P8,000 for every displaced worker.

The bill seeks to allocate P108 billion for additional social amelioration to impacted households; P100 billion for capacity-building for impacted sectors; P52 billion for wage subsidies; P70 billion for capacity-building for agricultural producers; P30 billion for internet allowances to teachers and students; P30 billion for assistance to displaced workers; P25 billion for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines; P5 billion for the rehabilitation of areas affected by recent floods and typhoons.

‘More than enough’

It is not yet too late for the Duterte administration to certify as urgent the proposed Bayanihan 3 stimulus package, especially since the national government has more than enough funds to finance the measure.

Quimbo, co-author of House Bill 8628, revealed that government resources can revive the country’s ailing economy.

“We have more than enough for what we need in Bayanihan 3. As of end-November 2020, the estimated cash balance in our National Treasury is at P1.6 trillion. Apart from this, our total net borrowing is at P2.82 trillion,” she said, defending their P420-billion stimulus bill.

According to Quimbo, an economist, all of these funds can help mitigate the adverse effects of a deeper recession where the Philippines’ economic losses in 2020 was pegged at P3.2 trillion.

“Yes, our economy is sinking. The inflation rate is increasing while economic output is decreasing. We have a solution in Bayanihan 3. As we say, the third time’s a charm. If the President can certify it as urgent – better,” she told the weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan forum.

“If there is one undisputable thing, and that is only one: the economy has turned out worse than what we had all expected,” the neophyte legislator said, suggesting that government increase its spending activities to pump prime the economy and generate more revenues.

Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, who was also a guest of the Ugnayan forum, supported HB 8628. “Hearing congresswoman Stella (Quimbo) and congressman Joey Salceda in our discussions, I am of the belief that this is a good piece of legislation.”

Quimbo reiterated that the Bayanihan 1 and 2 funds, including the allotted P250 billion for this year for purposes of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, are “clearly insufficient to make up for our economic losses in 2020, which are estimated to be at P3.2 trillion.”

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