Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has submitted a bill pushing for a third installment of the Bayanihan Law, which would guarantee a P420-billion fund as part of the country’s recovery effort amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. 

Vo authored with Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, Velasco submitted the bill last Thursday under House Bill (HB) No. 8628, or the proposed “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act” or Bayanihan 3.

Meanwhile, 115 members of major political parties and blocs in the House have shown their support and wanted to co-author the said bill, according to Velasco in a statement.

The lawmaker said the two previous Bayanihan Laws were “not sufficient for the genuine economic recovery of the country.”

The representative from Marinduque cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority which stated that the Philippine economy fell by 9.5 percent in 2020, the worst performance in the nation’s post-war history.

The statistics was worse than the projected contraction of 4.5 to 6.6 percent, which was the reference of the Development Budget Coordination Committee for the 2021 National Expenditure Program.

 “Given that actual economic output in 2020 was far below what was assumed for budget purposes, and further losses may still be incurred as the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to prevail well into the current fiscal year, an additional economic stimulus package is needed to help the government meet its recovery targets for the year,” Velasco pointed out.

Velasco also highlighted that household consumption has significantly decreased by 5.7 percent, which contributed to the 9.5 percent annual reduction in output in 2020.

“Government must therefore take the lead to promote business and consumer confidence and social welfare. Increased, well-targeted spending is a vital step to achieving these goals,” he said.

The breakdown of the proposed P420-billion appropriation under Bayanihan 3 are as follows:

  • P52 billion for subsidies to small business for wages and other worker-related expenses
  • P100 billion for the capacity-building of businesses in critically impacted sectors
  • P108 billion for additional social amelioration to impacted households through programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
  • P70 billion for the provision of assistance and capacity-building to farmers, livestock producers and fishermen
  • P30 billion for the implementation of unemployment assistance and cash-for-work programs under the Department of Labor and Employment
  • P30 billion for internet allowances to primary, secondary and tertiary students and teachers in public and private educational institutions
  • P5 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas, including the repair, reconstruction and/or construction of flood control works, roads, bridges, public buildings and other damaged public works, to be distributed proportionately among affected provinces and cities
  • P25 billion to the Department of Health for the procurement of Covid-19 medication and vaccines, and to finance logistics, information awareness campaigns, and other related operational expenses 

Ronald dela Cruz