The likelihood of a special legislative session to pass the “Bayanihan 3” economic stimulus bill is growing in both houses of Congress.

In the House of Representatives, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said the Makabayan bloc was pushing for a stimulus bill as the first two Bayanihan packages were inadequate.

“Talagang kahit kami sa Makabayan Bloc, nagtutulak na magkaroon ng third stimulus package dahil in fact yung first two stimulus packages, napakaliit non,” Zarate said in a PressOne.PH podcast.

Zarate also pointed out that the first stimulus packages benefited mostly big businesses, through soft loans.

“Even if you compare that with other neighboring countries natin na tinamaan din ng Covid, talagang kulang na kulang iyon and ang masama pa nga noon, mas malaki pa ang pakinabang ng mga malalaking korporasyon at mga nasa negosyo dahil talagang panay mga available agad sa kanila, mga soft loans and in fact during the pandemic ipinasa yung pagbababa ng taxes nila,” he said.

Sen. Franklin Drilon on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to call for a special session to immediately pass Bayanihan 3 after Malacañang said there would be no additional government aid apart from the P1,000 assistance per person affected by the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the “NCR-Plus” area..

Drilon stressed that Filipinos should continuously be given financial assistance due to the difficulties brought about by the poor pandemic response.

“I urge the President to call a special session of Congress to pass the proposed Bayanihan 3 and expand the government’s cash subsidy program amid the spike in Covid-19 cases,” Drilon said in a statement.

The Palace, while openly admitting that the maximum P4,000 aid per household was not enough, said that the government could not provide additional aid as it was running low on funds.

Drilon said the Bayanihan 3, could help curb unemployment caused by the ECQ.

“Yung Bayanihan 3 para magkaroon ng karagdagang budget para matugunan itong milyun-milyong nawalan ng trabaho, 4.5M unemployed in 2020,” he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in a text message to reporters, said he was amenable to a special session unless the budget department was opposed to it.

Sen. Joel Villanueva in a press release said that a special session was a good suggestion, but executive action, rather than legislation, was the best solution.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco earlier said Bayanihan 3 was being studied by the Committee on Economic Affairs and Social Services and that if the president certified the bill as urgent, they would “comply.” Hannah Beatrisse L. Oledan & Jade Veronique V. Yap