The House of Representatives passed the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2 on final reading; and it garnered a total of 242 yes votes. The passage of Bayanihan 2 on final reading is the government’s way to somehow control the damage and impact that the coronavirus disease pandemic had on the economy.
Alan Peter Cayetano himself claimed that Bayanihan 2 will be used as a cushion which would help rebuild the sectors that were destroyed and damaged by the virus.
We want Bayanihan 2 to be a living piece of legislation that will power our industries and revitalize sectors of society that have been decimated by this virus, or were otherwise forgotten and neglected in the past.”
In case you’re wondering if there are any downvotes, there are. As a matter of fact, six (6) lawmakers went against the measure.
The lower chamber approved the House Bill No. 6953, or Bayanihan 2 on final reading which would help Filipinos attain various forms of relief during the pandemic.
Benefits of the Bayanihan 2
The bill is a stimulus measure with an allotment of P162-billion standby funds that will be used “to support operations and response measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This includes the following advantages and benefits:
- Emergency subsidy to workers;
- Cash-for-work programs;
- Prevention and control of other diseases;
- Support programs for impacted sectors; and
- The support for the agricultural sector.
In total, the amount is a staggering ₱51 billion set for the infusion of capital for government financial institutions. ₱20 billion for low-interest credit for the agriculture sector and implementation of cash-for-work programs; ₱10 billion for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation; and ₱10 billion each for the Transportation (DOTr) and (DOT) Tourism departments.
The capital infusions are designed so banks would be able to lend more to companies; especially small firms, so they can rebuild their operations. ₱10.5 billion was also allocated for hiring additional healthcare workers and provision of risk allowance, life insurance and compensation for medical front liners.
Another version of the proposed house bill
The Senate approved of its own version of the bill in July. The House earlier passed a version worth ₱140 billion, aligning with the amount which the Department of Finance said are available. The House previously also approved of a stimulus package worth more than ₱1 trillion which economic managers said was not “fundable.”
Most lawmakers voted yes to the measure, with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano reiterating that the bill is the chamber’s response to rebuilding the society.
Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Benny Abante and Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte both said the funds provided by the bill were “not enough.” To Abante, the bill would propose to be a problem as the measure, once passed, is seen effective until December 31 while the lawmakers who voted against the measure said its provisions were vague and unresponsive.
Arlene Brosas, a Gabriela Party-List Representative noted that Bayanihan 2 is not catered towards the problems the country is currently faced with. She explains that the particular measure is not affecting or impacting the free mass testing and the more effective and comprehensive contact-tracing procedures; which are to be the most important and most relevant acts and measures.
Hindi taglay nitong Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (BARO) ang hinihinging tugon sa hamong hinaharap natin ngayon.”
In Translation: The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act is not responsive to the challenges we are currently facing. BARO scrimps on cash aid and is vague on much-needed health interventions.
Bayanihan 1 Was a “Failure”
In the defense of most of the representatives that chose to downvote the bill, they said that the first version of the Bayanihan Act was a failure and that it should never repeat.
Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Eufemia Cullamat also voted no due to the fact that the Bayanihan required a lot of money; and yet, it didn’t become successful.
The Bayanihan 1 was a massive failure and it was a huge mistake to grant a huge sum of money and extraordinary powers to President Duterte then. Why should we pass Bayanihan 2 if part 1 was a letdown?”
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which spanned from March to June granted President Rodrigo Duterte the authority to realign budget allocations under the 2019 and 2020 spending plans for COVID-19 response and fast-tracked procurement processes for medical equipment.
The government spent ₱375 billion on response measures, about ₱200 billion of which went into two-month subsidies to the 18 million poorest Filipino households.
The lower chamber also approved of other health-related measures of Bayanihan 2 on final reading, such as House Bill 6864 or the Better Normal bill which institutionalizes public health standards, and House Bill 6756 which puts up a medical scholarship and return service program in the country.
What do you think about the fact that the Bayanihan 2 is on its last and final reading? Do you approve of it or not?