The Senate and House of Representatives have come out with the final version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2, which seeks to distribute P140 billion in funds to address the twin health and economic crises borne out of the COVID-19 pandemic..
Bayanihan 2 extends the emergency powers granted to President Rodrigo Duterte by the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which expired on June 24. Once signed by the President, Bayanihan 2 will be in effect until December 19.
One of the advocates of the bill Sen. Sonny Angara, the House of Represenatives and Senate spent about 40 hours deliberating the provisions in a bicameral conference.
"We tried our best to cover as much ground as we could, and be as strategic as possible, with the fiscal space that was open to us—with the hope that in the coming months, we may be able to legislate an even greater economic stimulus," Angara said in his sponsorship speech.
The bill has a total allocation of P165.5 billion, but only P140 billion of the fund will be readily available and distributed, as this was all the finance department could provide. Officials are still looking to generate the additional P25.5 billion standby fund.
The P140-billion fund will be distributed as follows:
- P3 billion for the procurement of face masks, PPEs, shoe covers, and face shields
- P4.5 billion for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories, and for the expansion of gov’t hospital capacity
- Another P4.5 billion for Office of Civil Defense (OCD) or NDRRMC isolation facilities and other requirements including billing of hotels, food and transportation used by COVID-19 patients
- P13.5 billion for the DOH to employ emergency Human Resources for Health
- P820 million as a fund for Overseas Filipinos under the Department of Foreign Affairs
- P13 billion for the government’s cash-for-work program and other support programs for impacted sectors
- P600 million in subsidies and allowances for students severely impacted by the pandemic
- P300 million in subsidies and allowances to teaching and non-teaching personnel, and party-time faculty in SUCs
- P180 million in allowances for our national athletes and coaches
- P24 billion in assistance to the Agricultural Sector and the Plant, Plant, Plant initiative under the Department of Agriculture (DA)
- P9.5 billion in assistance to the Transportation Industry
- P4 billion for the Tourism industry, and another P100M for tourist guides training and subsidies
- P3 billion for the development of smart campuses across the country
- P1 billion for TESDA Scholarships
- P6 billion for DSWD’s assistance to individuals in crisis situations
- P4 billion for the DepEd’s implementation of Digital Education
- P1.5 billion as assistance to LGUs, with another P2B as subsidy for the payment of interest on loans secured by LGUs from government banks
- P5 billion for the DILG to hire more contact tracers
- P2.5 million for the computer-based licensure of the Philippine Red Cross
- P10 million for the research fund of the Health Technology Assessment Council, which was created under the Universal Healthcare Law
- P15 million for UP Diliman’s Computational Research Lab
P39.5 billion of the P140 billion will serve as capital infusion to government banks, broken down as follows:
- P10 billion for the DTI Small Business Corporation (SBCorp)—P4B of which will be devoted for low-interest loans to MSMEs, Cooperatives, Hospitals, and OFWs, and P6B for tourism
- P18.4725 billion for the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP)
- P6 billion for the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)
- P5 billion for the Philippine Guarantee Corporation
The standy P25.5-billion fund, once generated, will be allotted to the following:
- P10 billion of this will be for COVID-19 Testing, and Procurement of Medication and Vaccine
- P15.5275 billion as additional capital infusion to government banks