BSP issues guidelines for 60-day grace period for loan payments under Bayanihan 2

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2020   •   225

Banks cannot charge late payment penalties and other fees due to the mandatory 60-day grace period under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said this covers loans under Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), and Pag-IBIG Fund.

Iyong mandatory one-time 60-day grace period ay automatic na kailangan bigay ng mga BSP-supervised financial institutions at saka ng mga ibang lending institutions katulad ng SSS, GSIS at saka iba pa (The mandatory one-time 60-day grace period should be automatically granted by the BSP-supervised financial institutions and other lending institutions such as the SSS, GSIS, and others),” he said.

The grace period covers salary loans, personal loans, commercial loans, housing loans, motor vehicle loans, amortizations, financial lease payment and premium payment, and credit card payment that has a due date from September 15 until December 31, 2020. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

P4.413B out of P140B Bayanihan 2 funds released to agencies, DBM says

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – More than P4 billion worth of funds allocated for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and recovery efforts have been released to government agencies, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

The DBM issued the statement on Tuesday after some senators slammed the agency for the slow release of funds under the Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), which aims to provide funds to assist sectors heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) assures the Filipino people that it provides sufficient attention to the release of funds pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 11494 or the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’,” the department said.

It said that out of the P140 billion worth of COVID-19 related interventions, allotments amounting to P4.413 billion have already been released to the following agencies:

Department/AgencyAmount (in PhP)Purpose
Department of the Interior and Local Government2,522,660,000.00Hiring and training of contract tracers
Office of Civil Defense855,190,418.00Construction and maintenance of isolation facilities including billings of hotels, food and transportation
Bureau of the Treasury for the Local Government Units215,476,750.00COVID-19 Local Government Support Fund 
Department of Foreign Affairs820,000,000.00Assistance-to-Nationals Fund
Total4,413,327,168.00

“These releases were charged against the certified amount of the Bureau of the Treasury pursuant to Section 4(ss) of RA No. 11494,” the DBM said.

On the other hand, the release of funds for the following Departments/Agencies were already recommended to the Office of the President (OP):

Department/AgencyAmount (in PhP)Purpose
Department of Labor and Employment 8,000,000,000.00COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program and Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Program
Department of Social Welfare and Development6,000,000,000.00Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and Sustainable Livelihood Program
Department of Agriculture11,632,000,000.00Implementation of the Plant, Plant, Plant Program
Department of Health20,575,952,000.00Health-related responses such as Human Resources for health, augmentation for operations of DOH hospitals, Special Risk Allowances, Actual Hazard Duty Pay, Free life insurance, accommodation, transportation and meals for health workers, and other compensation to public and private health workers, among others
Total46,207,952,000.00

“The approval from OP was sought considering that the funding source will be the balance of pooled savings under RA No. 11469 consistent with Section 11 of RA No. 11494 and that the authority to use savings was granted by Congress to the President of the Philippines,” the DBM said.

“The corresponding Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) will be released as soon as we receive the pertinent OP approvals,” it added.

As to the remaining balance of the allocated amounts, the DBM expects the respective departments/agencies to submit their corresponding budget requests, outlining the specific items of expenditures, targeted beneficiaries and expected outputs consistent with existing budgeting, accounting and auditing laws, rules and regulations and reflected through their respective Budget Execution Documents and Disbursement Programs.

“As soon as these requests are received, the DBM will immediately evaluate the same to ensure their alignment with the intention of RA No. 11494 and will recommend to the President the release of funds charged against the identified funding sources,” the department said.

The DBM also said it is in close coordination with the Bureau of the Treasury to ensure that the funding sources identified under RA No. 11494 are readily available to support the allotments that the department will issue to the respective departments/agencies.

“All allotments released pursuant to RA No. 11494 will be appropriately reported to Congress and the Commission on Audit, as well as to the general public through the DBM website,” it said.

Senators earlier called on the DBM to expedite the release of COVID-19 funds under Bayanihan 2 law before it expires on December 19, 2020.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on Sept. 11.

Malacañang, however, expressed its belief that funds allotted for the implementation of COVID-19 measures under the Bayanihan 2 are beyond the law’s expiration. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Farmers, fishers to receive cash, food aid from excess rice tariffs under Bayanihan 2

Marje Pelayo   •   October 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — In succeeding months, small rice farmers will receive cash assistance sourced from “excess rice tariff” under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Likewise, fisherfolk and corn, coconut and sugar farmers as well as indigenous peoples (IPs) will receive cash and food assistance. 

Currently, the DA is finalizing the mechanics of the two forms of assistance to millions of small farmers and fisherfolk.

This is in accordance with a resolution approved and adopted by the Senate committee on agriculture and food during the virtual deliberations of the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA), on October 16, 2020.

Agriculture secretary William Dar said the cash assistance will benefit farmers adversely impacted by the  depressed prices of palay this season.

The Senate Joint Resolution No. 12 authorizes the use of the tariffs on imported rice in excess of P10 billion collected by the Bureau of Customs for 2020 under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

Secretary Dar said that the initial estimate of the excess rice tariffs in 2019 and this year may amount to P5B.

The said amount as stated in the Joint Senate resolution will be used as cash assistance worth P5,000 to benefit small rice farmers, tilling one hectare or less.

To qualify, farmer-beneficiaries should be listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

Secretary Dar added that this time, other non-rice farmers will also receive P5,000-worth of cash and food assistance under the DA’s P4.5-billion budget allocation, also under Bayanihan 2.

The DA chief said of the P5,000-assistance, P3,000 will be in cash, while the P2,000 will be in kind, at P1,000 for rice and the other P1,000 for chicken and eggs.

Based on the DA’s initial program mechanics, the rice, chicken and eggs will be withdrawn by the beneficiaries using an e-voucher system. 

Qualified recipients will be issued an ID cum voucher.

“Through this mechanism, we are lifting once again our local rice industry that has been affected by the decline in palay prices, and poultry raisers who were affected by a glut due to shut down of businesses due to the pandemic,” secretary Dar said.

BSP warns public against sale of ‘brilliant uncirculated’ P20 coins

Marje Pelayo   •   October 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday (October 7) warned the public against online sellers advertising Brilliant Uncirculated 20-Piso coins for sale.

In an advisory, the agency said that it has not issued such coin series and the only P20-coin of legal tender is the 20-Piso New Generation Currency (NGC) that was released to the public beginning December 2019. 

As of end-August 2020, 2.09 million pieces of 20-Piso NGC coins amounting to PHP41.85 million are in circulation, the agency noted.

These 20-Piso NGC coins are the only ones that may be used as payment for goods and services at face value.

The BSP reminds the public to beware of online sellers advertising Brilliant Uncirculated 20-Piso coins for sale.

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