The House of Representatives on Monday approved on its third and final reading the proposed Bayahinan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan II, which allows the government to continue its COVID-19 response programs to help stimulate various sectors as they recover from the drastic impact of the pandemic.
Voting 242 affirmative, 6 negative and zero abstention, lawmakers approved House Bill 6953 which will extend the validity of the government’s anti-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) programs and interventions under the Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” which lapsed on June 5, 2020.
The six lawmakers from the Makabayan Bloc voted against the bill saying that the national government should first disclose a transparency report on how it spent the PHP 3.7 trillion of the 2020 national budget.
“Isang malaking kabiguan ang Bayanihan 1 at isang malaking kamalian ang pagbibigay ng malaking pera at dagdag-kapangyarihan kay Pangulong Duterte doon. Bakit pa ito dadagdagan pa ng part 2 kung malaking sablay naman ang part 1?” Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said in a statement.
Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said HB 6953 said its predecessor failed in delivering mass testing, contact tracing, and is slow in distributing the cash aids for poor Filipinos.
““Iisa lang ang ating masusuma: bigo ang Bayanihan to Heal as One Act para paghilumin ang bansa sa krisis na pinalala ng pandemya ng COVID-19,” Zarate said.
The House version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or “Bayanihan 2” seeks to provide PHP 162-billion funds to the government’s COVID-19 efforts.
In July, the Senate also approved the said bill, allocating at least PHP 140-billion budget.
The bill specifically seeks to fund the following:
- PHP 10 billion as subsidy to the National Health Insurance Program of PhilHealth to be used solely to cover COVID-19 expanded testing based on DOH Protocol and for allocation of COVID-19 confinements (inpatients);
- PHP 10.5 billion – Hiring of additional Health Care Workers and arrangements for risk allowance, life insurance, compensation, and compensation for death and critical illness;
- PHP 3 billion for procurement of face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) sets for frontliners and indigents;
- PHP 4 billion to finance the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories for frontliners, and for the expansion of government hospital capacity all over the country;
- PHP 20 billion for the implementation of appropriate cash-for-work programs for displaced workers;
- PHP 51 billion for the infusion of capital to government financial institutions as their infusion of new capital;
- PHP 20 billion to provide direct cash or loan interest rate subsidies, under the programs of the Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC);
- PHP 10 billion to finance the programs of the DOTr to assist the critically impacted businesses in the transportation industry;
- PHP 10 billion to finance the programs of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) assisting the recovery of the tourism industry that shall include the provision of tourism infrastructures;
- PHP 100 million to finance the training and subsidies for tourist guides;
- PHP 3 billion to assist state universities and colleges in the development of smart campuses through investments in ICT infrastructure;
- PHP 600 million for subsidies and allowances to qualified students of public and private Tertiary Education Institutions;
- PHP 300 million for subsidies and allowances of affected teaching and non-teaching personnel, including part-time faculty, in private and public Tertiary Education Institutions;
- PHP 1 billion as additional scholarship funds of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority;
- PHP 12 billion to finance programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development;
- PHP 4 billion to assist the Department of Education in the implementation of Digital Education, Information Technology (IT) and Digital Infrastructures and Alternative Learning Modalities;
- PHP 1.5 billion as assistance to local government units (LGUs);
- PHP 180 million to finance allowances for national athletes and coaches whose allowances were reduced to 50 percent due to the pandemic; and
- PHP 820 million as assistance for Department of Foreign Affairs programs for displaced migrant workers.
House Speaker Alan Cayetano said Congress is eyeing to ratify the Bayanihan II on Tuesday next week.
After the ratification by both houses, the bill will be immediately delivered to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature.