The House of Representatives on Monday ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) bill.
The chamber approved the final reconciled version of Bayanihan 2, which proposes a PHP165.5-billion fund to finance the country’s response and recovery interventions intended to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The amount consists of PHP140 billion of regular appropriation and an additional standby fund of PHP25.5 billion.
Following the ratification by the houses of Congress, the bill, which is one of the legislative priorities President Rodrigo Duterte enumerated in his 5th State of the Nation Address last July 27, shall be transmitted to Malacañang for his signature.
The bill is the second installment of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which gave Duterte 31 emergency powers to address the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
The law already expired on June 25.
Once signed by Duterte, the bill would provide an emergency subsidy ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to affected low-income households in areas under granular lockdown and households with recently returned overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The amount will be computed based on prevailing regional minimum wage rates.
The PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 subsidy will also cover unemployment or involuntary separation assistance for displaced workers or employees due to Covid-19, including probationary, project, seasonal, contractual, and casual employees.
Other major items included in the PHP165.5-billion fund for Bayanihan 2 are:
- PHP39.47 billion for capital infusion to government banks;
- PHP24 billion to boost agriculture and provide assistance to farmers and fishermen;
- PHP13.5 billion for the benefits and hiring of more health care workers;
- PHP13 billion for the cash-for-work program;
- PHP9.5 billion for assistance to public utility drivers and other programs of the transportation department;
- PHP6 billion for “individuals in crisis” and other programs of the social welfare department;
- PHP5 billion for the hiring of contract tracers;
- PHP4.5 billion for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, and for the expansion of government hospital capacity;
- PHP4.5 billion for isolation facilities, hotel accommodation, food, and transportation of Covid-19 patients;
- PHP4 billion for the tourism industry;
- PHP4 billion for the education department’s implementation of digital learning;
- PHP3 billion for the procurement of personal protective equipment, face masks, and face shields;
- PHP3 billion for the development of smart campuses;
- PHP2 billion subsidy for LGUs paying interest on loans secured from government banks;
- PHP1.5 billion assistance to local government units;
- PHP1 billion for TESDA scholarships;
- PHP820 million for assistance to OFWs;
- PHP600 million in subsidies, allowance for students severely affected by the pandemic;
- PHP300 million in subsidies, allowance for teachers, part-time faculty, other employees of state universities and colleges; and
- PHP180 million in allowances for national athletes and coaches.
Source: Philippines News Agency