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P140-B Boost to COVID War Chest is Near, Lawmakers Agree on Bayanihan 2

It will be submitted to the President for signature soon.
by Joel Guinto
Aug 20, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

A joint Senate and House committee on Thursday approved Bayanihan 2, the country's second pandemic response legislation that sets aside P140 billion, among others, to fight COVID-19, lawmakers said.

After the Senate and the House approve the report of the bicameral conference committee separately, all it takes is President Rodrigo Duterte's signature to enact it into law. He certified Bayanihan 2 as urgent during his State of the Nation Address last July.

Bayanihan 2 includes "allotments for various government programs to help our affected countrymen and sectors and an additional P25 billion standby appropriations," said Sen. Sonny Angara, a COVID-19 survivor and chairman of the Senate finance committee. The Senate could ratify it as early as Thursday, before the long weekend, he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque thanked lawmakers for passing Bayanihan 2, adding the final version was "faithful" to the Palace's request.

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Some P10 billion will go to the badly-hit tourism sector, said Sen. Franklin Drilon. This includes P6 billion for soft loans, P3 billion for displaced workers and P1 billion for new infrastructure.

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The bicameral report also included a 60-day extension for loan payments during the pandemic and a three-year suspension of permits to build cell towers, the Inquirer reported.

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