Philippines: Extension of Bayanihan 2 funds’ availability gets House nod

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday night approved on final reading a measure seeking to extend the availability of funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

With 179 affirmative votes, 6 negative votes, and no abstention, the chamber passed on third reading House Bill 8063, which extends the availability of Bayanihan 2 funds from December 19, 2020 until June 30, 2021, as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. 

The third reading approval came after it was approved on second reading on the same day.

President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the bill as urgent that lifts the “three-day” rule between the second and third readings.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, one of the authors of the bill, said the proposed extension would allow the government to continue its programs and efforts taken under Bayanihan 2.

“By extending its validity, the President will be able to continuously sustain and further the capacity of the government in supporting the Filipino people rise above the adversity brought about by the pandemic,” Velasco said.

Bayanihan 2 provides for a stimulus package of PHP140 billion in regular appropriation and PHP25 billion as standby fund to be utilized to cushion the effects of the pandemic and strengthen the efforts in gradually reopening the economy.

The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) is the second installment of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), which gave Duterte emergency powers to address the Covid-19 crisis in the country. (PNA)