Senate approves Bayanihan 2 bill on final reading

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2020   •   282

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Tuesday approved on third and final reading the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) bill which seeks to extend the powers granted to the Duterte administration to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Twenty-two senators voted to pass the measure while Senator Francis Pangilinan was the lone dissenter.

The upper chamber passed the bill a day after President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to legislators to expedite its passage during his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Under the Bayanihan 2 bill, the allocation of a P140-billion standby fund is proposed to help sectors and industries heavily-hit by the pandemic. It also seeks to provide funds for the procurement of additional COVID-19 testing equipment as well as the implementation of assistance programs for displaced workers, low-income households and other sectors. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte signs Bayanihan 2 law

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has enacted into law the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, which seeks to allocate P165.5-billion-fund to address health and economic problems brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go announced the development on Friday.

The stimulus package consists of P140 billion worth of regular appropriations and a standby fund of P25.5 billion to help sectors and industries heavily-hit by the pandemic.

It also seeks to provide funds for the procurement of additional COVID-19 testing equipment as well as the implementation of assistance programs for displaced workers, low-income households and other sectors.

The law also sets aside funds for cash subsidies ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 for low-income households in areas under granular lockdown, those with recently-repatriated overseas Filipino workers, as well as employees displaced by the pandemic.

Similar to Bayanihan 1 law, the measure allows President Rodrigo Duterte to realign funds for pandemic-related expenses.

DOF seeks Congress support for other economic recovery bills after passage of Bayanihan 2

Robie de Guzman   •   August 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has asked Congress to approve other legislative measures designed to help speed up the recovery of the country’s economy which has plunged into recession due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III made the call Wednesday after Congress ratified the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Dominguez said the bills that Congress still needs to deliberate on include the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives Act (CREATE), the Financial Institutions’ Strategic Transfer (FIST) bill, and the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) bill.

“The access-to-credit provisions of Bayanihan 2 will be amplified through the proposed GUIDE and FIST bills,” he said in a statement.

He also said that FIST will allow banks to dispose of non-performing loans and assets through asset management companies similar to special purpose vehicles created in the early 2000s in response to the Asian Financial Flu, so they can extend credit to more sectors in need of financial aid.

Meanwhile, GUIDE will enable government financial institutions (GFI) to form special holding companies that will infuse equity, but subject to strict conditions, into strategically important companies facing insolvency.

“President Duterte has made clear that he needs the timely passage of CREATE, FIST, and GUIDE as part of the government’s economic recovery plan. As Bayanihan 2 has already been resolved, we will continue to work with the Senate and the House to get these imperatives passed in a fiscally responsible manner.” Dominguez said.

“We seek to lower the corporate income tax rate through CREATE; mitigate the threat of non-performing assets to our banking system through FIST; and support, but subject to strict conditions, strategically important companies facing insolvency through GUIDE,” he added.

The Finance chief also thanked the Senate and the House of Representatives for passing a “fiscally responsible” Bayanihan 2 bill which special powers anew to President Rodrigo Duterte to deal with the pandemic.

The Senate ratified the consolidated version hammered out by a bicameral committee last August 20, while the House of Representatives approved it last August 24. This final congressional bill is now up for President Duterte’s approval into law.

“Bayanihan 2 will allow the Duterte administration to keep its health initiatives on front and center of the national COVID-19 response, with funding for contact tracing, streamlined systems for registering viral testing kits and testing centers, and various forms of support for our medical workers spelled out in this sequel to Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” Dominguez said.

“As Bayanihan 2 is very close to being sent to the President for signature, we will keep working with the Senate and the House to get these bills passed and complete our recovery package in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis that has battered the global economy,” he added.

Bayanihan 2 earmarks P42-B for low interest loans

Marje Pelayo   •   August 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A big part of the appropriations in the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” will be allotted to low-interest loans.

Under the bill, payment of utility bills will also be given a grace period.

Specifically, P42 billion of the total amount of appropriations is especially for enterprises severely affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final version of the bill is appropriated with P165 billion.

According to Marikina Second District Representative Stella Quimbo, another P5 billion is allotted to government guarantee that will serve as borrowers’ collateral.

Rep. Quimbo also clarified that the Social Health Insurance Crisis Act will not abolish the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) but rather outsource the services of private sectors like the information technology of the agency.

She added that the government will still manage the health insurance agency as a non-profit corporation.

“Ang sinasabi ko lang, iyong mga hindi kayang gawin ng gobyerno ay ipasa na natin sa private sector (What I am saying is, the things that government cannot handle anymore, let us pass it on to the private sector), Quimbo said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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