The House of Representatives has ratified on Monday the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan II, allowing the national government to use the PHP 165.5 billion budget in its COVID-19 response programs.
On Monday, the chamber ratified the bicameral committee report on House Bill 6953, just four days after the Senate first approved the measure.
It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to pass the second Bayanihan law during his 5th State of the Nation Address last July 27.
Deputy Speaker Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr., who led the House panel during the bicam, said the Senate and House panel agreed to set the funding to P165 billion “to accommodate all COVID-battered sectors that have sought immediate government assistance in the face of the likely protracted battle with the coronavirus pandemic.”
The measure is now on its way to the Office of the President for approval and will likely be enacted into law by September, Villafuerte said.
Both chambers of Congress agreed on the PHP140 billion that will come from the general appropriations budget while PHP 25.5 billion which will serve as a standby authority that can be used once additional government revenues become available.
The PHP 140-billion regular appropriation is broken down as follows:
- PHP 3 billion for the procurement of face masks, PPEs, shoe covers, and face shields
- PHP 4.5 billion for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories, and for the expansion of gov’t hospital capacity
- PHP 4.5 billion for Office of Civil Defense or NDRRMC isolation facilities and other requirements including billing of hotels, food and transportation used by COVID-19 patients
- PHP 13.5 billion for the DOH to employ emergency Human Resources for Health
- PHP 820 million as a fund for Overseas Filipinos under the Department of Foreign Affairs
- PHP 13 billion for the government’s cash-for-work program and other support programs for impacted sectors
- PHP 600M as subsidies and allowances for students severely impacted by the pandemic
- PHP 300M as subsidies and allowances to teaching and non-teaching personnel, and party-time faculty in SUCs
- PHP 180M as allowance for our national athletes and coaches
- PHP 39.472B as capital infusion to government banks, broken down as follows: P10B for the DTI Small Business Corporation (SBCorp)—P4B of which will be devoted for low-interest loans to MSMEs, cooperatives, hospitals, and OFWs, and P6B for tourism; P18.4725B for the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP); P6B for the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP); and, PHP 5B for the Philippine Guarantee Corporation
- PHP 24B as assistance to the agricultural sector and the Plant, Plant, Plant initiative under the Department of Agriculture
- PHP 9.5B in assistance to the transportation industry
- PHP 4B for the tourism industry, and another P100M for tourist guides training and subsidies
- PHP 3B for the development of smart campuses across the country
- PHP 1B for TESDA Scholarships
- PHP 6B for DSWD’s assistance to individuals in crisis situations
- PHP 4B for the DepEd’s implementation of digital education
- PHP 1.5B as assistance to LGUs, with another P2B as subsidy for the payment of interest on loans secured by LGUs from government banks
- PHP 5B for the DILG to hire more contact tracers
- PHP 2.5M for the computer-based licensure of the Philippine Red Cross
- PHP 10M for the research fund of the Health Technology Assessment Council, which was created under the UHC Law
- PHP 15M for UP Diliman’s Computational Research Lab
Under the PHP 25.5 billion standby fund, PHP 10 billion will be allocated for COVID-19 testing and procurement of vaccines and medicines and PHP 15.5 billion as an additional capital infusion to government banks.
Meanwhile, retained in this proposed second Bayanihan law is the PHP 5,000 to PHP 8,000 cash assistance to low-income households.