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House panels OK Bayanihan 3 providing P405.6 billion stimulus package
House Deputy Minority Leader Stella Luz Alabastro-Quimbo yesterday said the panels ways and means of Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, social services of Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas and economic affairs of Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. have all approved the measure.
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House panels OK Bayanihan 3 providing P405.6 billion stimulus package

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Three committees of the House of Representatives have approved the proposed P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3 stimulus package that will provide cash aid to all 110 million Filipinos during this pandemic, the first tranche of which will be P1,000 for each citizen.

House Deputy Minority Leader Stella Luz Alabastro-Quimbo yesterday said the panels ways and means of Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, social services of Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas and economic affairs of Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. have all approved the measure.

But the House appropriations committee headed by ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap will have the final say on the consolidated measure before it goes to plenary for the approval of a majority of the 300 House members.

The Salceda committee approved without amendments, in an online meeting yesterday, the revenue provisions contained in Sections 34 and 35 of the unnumbered substitute bill to the proposed Bayanihan 3.

The revenue provision in Section 34 of the Bayanihan 3 substitute bill states that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas would be authorized to make additional direct provisional advances with or without interest to the national government.

The new Bayanihan 3 bill replaced House Bills 8597, 8031, 8059, 7620, 9089 and 8628, authored by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

“The measure will provide two rounds of P1,000 cash aid (ayuda) for every Filipino (per head), where the first tranche will cost about P108 billion, and then after three months, another P108 billion,” Marikina congresswoman Quimbo said, for a total of P216 billion.

By all Filipinos, she said this will definitely include even rich ones. “This simply means when you live in Forbes Park, as we all know they can very well afford it, I think they can waive this cash aid,” she told House reporters in a Zoom interview.

Vargas said the approval of the consolidated version of the Bayanihan 3 bill assures millions of Filipinos of economic and social assistance. “I’m very optimistic that we will be able to extend to our people the economic and social support that they need during this period,” he said.

Quimbo and Vargas said the measure could be taken up in plenary debates for approval on second reading when session resumes on May 17.

Speaker Velasco, who represents the lone Marinduque district, said that while Bayanihan 1 and 2 have increased the government’s capacity to respond to the national health emergency crisis, these were “not sufficient for the genuine economic reform of the country.”

But Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, who is allied with ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano who has been very critical of Velasco’s leadership, prefers an extension of Bayanihan 2 (Republic Act 11494) instead.

He said the extension “shall give the government the opportunity to continuously implement the recovery and stimulus programs specified in Bayanihan 2, especially in allocating funds for more essential and relevant expenses necessary to recover from the pandemic.”

Villafuerte’s proposal to extend Bayanihan 2 also covers the powers and authorities provided under this law that enabled the government to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable groups and individuals and expand medical resources to fight COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Section 35 of the substitute bill would mandate some government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) recommended by the Joint Executive-Legislative Bayanihan Council, to increase their dividend remittances to help fund the appropriations of the proposed measure.

Haresco said that most of the proposed funding sources for Bayanihan 3 would come from existing unutilized appropriations, unreleased balances, dividends from GOCCs, as well as from excess revenue collection from tax and non-tax sources.

Apart from the total P216-billion cash aid, the measure also provides P12 billion as livelihood assistance for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P10 billion in assistance for displaced workers in Department of Labor and Employment, P8 billion in wage subsidies for the Department of Finance’s program;

About P5.6 billion for the information technology needs of the Department of Education, P3 billion for the Medical Assistance for Indigents Program of the Department of Health and P54.6 billion in the pension and gratuity fund for uniformed personnel – or a total of P93.2 billion.

The unaccounted P96.4 billion has yet to be funded, but Salceda said this can be sourced from amending the Dividends Law of GOCCs (RA 7656) where an increase in mandatory dividend remittance from 50 percent to 75 percent may be temporarily implemented.

BAYANIHAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
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