The government says the Philippines needs at least P25 billion in new funding in order to increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity and to hire more contact tracers.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, P10 billion of that amount will be dedicated to testing while P15 billion will be used to hire 50,000 contact tracers.
The specified amounts are part of the proposed Bayanahian 2 law, which is pending in Congress.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the office of Senate Finance Committee Chairperson Sonny Angara has received the Executive department’s proposed changes to the Bayanihan 2 on June 30. As stated in the bill, at least P140 billion would be allocated to COVID-19 response.
“Sinisigurado lang po natin na mayroong sapat na pondo na magagamit para sa stimulus package. Ang posisyon po ni [Department of Finance] Secretary [Carlos] Dominguez, hanggang P140 billion na muna po tayo ngayon,” Roque said.
Roque said the Palace was not seeking a special session of Congress to hasten the passage of Bayanihan 2. If passed, it would succeed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which expired on June 24.
“Mukhang kakayanin naman po na i-discuss na itong Bayanihan 2, during the regular congress because, after all, State of the Nation [Address] is just around the corner in July,” he said.
Congress is set to resume session on July 27.