President Rodrigo Duterte has extended until 2021 the availability of funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), the country's stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as allocations under the 2020 national budget.
The availability of funds under last year's national budget has been extended until Dec. 31, 2021 through Republic Act No. 11520 signed on Dec. 29, 2020 but made public only Wednesday.
The validity of Bayanihan 2, the second pandemic aid package of the Philippines was extended until June 30, 2021 under Republic Act No. 11519. Earlier, President Duterte certified as urgent bills to extend Bayanihan 2.
Bayanihan 2 succeeded Bayanihan 1 or Bayanihan to Heal as One--which survived the government's COVID-19 response this year.
Of the P140 billion Bayanihan 2, P39.5 billion served as capital infusion to government banks, while the standby P25.5 billion fund was allotted to testing and procurement of medication and vaccine.
The extensions come as vaccines roll out worldwide and as nations guard against a new virus strain that was first reported in the United Kingdom.
The Philippines hopes to start its own COVID-19 immunization program in late March.