Press Release
August 20, 2020

Statement on the ratification of the BICAM report on Bayanihan 2

I. The COVID-19 pandemic may have forced us to go into quarantine. But today, we demonstrate how there is no locking down the Filipino spirt of Bayanihan, especially during times of crisis and calamity.

  • Mr. President, I stand here in support of the ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act—or what we call Bayanihan 2 as it is the follow-up to the first Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, sponsored by Senate President Tito and my colleague Senator Pia Cayetano, which has since helped millions of Filipinos to cope with the heavy burden brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

II. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge and express my gratitude for the hard work put in by the conferees from both Houses.

  • On the side of the Senate, my thanks goes to Senators Recto, Zubiri, Drilon, Cayetano, Go, Hontiveros, Marcos, and Poe.

  • On the part of the House Panel, praises go to my co-chair, Rep. LRay Villafuerte, Jr and Representatives Abu, Sy-Alvarado, Cua, Garin, Haresco Jr., Palma, Quimbo and Yap.

III. We had four (4) official bicameral conference meetings, and one (1) pre-bicam meeting. Save for the one we just had today, each meeting took a significant amount of energy, accumulating to at least 40 man-hours.

  •  This does not include the hundreds of messages in group chats, dozens of phone calls and Zoom videoconference discussions. Nor the significant amount of input we all received from government agencies like the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management, and from the private sector and civil society. This measure was indeed born out of true Bayanihan.

  •  Such collective effort was only commensurate to the gargantuan task at hand—that of, paving the way for our country to recover from the drudgeries of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many industries adversely affected, so many families in distress, nothing less than a synergistic approach was needed.

IV. As much as we wanted to accommodate all requests and provide support to every distressed Filipino, the economic stimulus in this measure is bounded by our fiscal limitations. Indeed, all of us in the bicameral conference wanted to devote and obligate more funds for immediate disbursement. But doing so would have jeopardized our response in the long run. Therefore, we tried our best to cover as much ground as we could, and be as strategic as possible, with the fiscal space that was open to us—with the hope that in the coming months, we may be able to legislate an even greater economic stimulus.

  • Our measure contemplates up to P140 billion of regular appropriations, while parking up to P25.5 billion as a standby fund if ever such amount is generated from savings and unused appropriations. In total, Mr. President, the stimulus under Bayanihan 2 could amount to a maximum of P165.5 billion.

    oThe P140-billion's worth of regular appropriations can be broken down as follows:

    -P3 billion for the procurement of face masks, PPEs, shoe covers, and face shields;

    -P4.5 billion for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories, and for the expansion of gov't hospital capacity;

    -Another P4.5 billion for Office of Civil Defense (OCD) or NDRRMC isolation facilities and other requirements including billing of hotels, food and transportation used by COVID-19 patients;

    -P13.5 billion for the DOH to employ emergency Human Resources for Health;

    -P820 million as a fund for Overseas Filipinos under the Department of Foreign Affairs;

    -P13 billion for the government's cash-for-work program and other support programs for impacted sectors;

    -P600M as subsidies and allowances for students severely impacted by the pandemic;

    -P300M as subsidies and allowances to teaching and non-teaching personnel, and party-time faculty in SUCs;

    -P180M as allowance for our national athletes and coaches;

    -P39.472B as capital infusion to government banks, broken down as follows:

    *P10B for the DTI Small Business Corporation (SBCorp)-P4B of which will be devoted for low-interest loans to MSMEs, Cooperatives, Hospitals, and OFWs, and P6B for tourism;

    *P18.4725B for the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP);

    *P6B for the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP); and,

    *P5B for the Philippine Guarantee Corporation.

  • P24B as assistance to the Agricultural Sector and the Plant, Plant, Plant initiative under the Department of Agriculture (DA);

  • P9.5B in assistance to the Transportation Industry;

  •  P4B for the Tourism industry, and another P100M for tourist guides training and subsidies;

  • P3B for the development of smart campuses across the country;

  • P1B for TESDA Scholarships;

  •  P6B for DSWD's assistance to individuals in crisis situations;

  •  P4B for the DepEd's implementation of Digital Education;

  •  P1.5B as assistance to LGUs, with another P2B as subsidy for the payment of interest on loans secured by LGUs from government banks;

  •  P5B for the DILG to hire more contact tracers;

  •  P2.5M for the computer-based licensure of the Philippine Red Cross;

  •  P10M for the research fund of the Health Technology Assesment Council, which was created under the UHC Law;

  •  P15M for UP Diliman's Computational Research Lab;

o As to the standby fund worth P25.5 billion:

  •  P10 billion of this will be for COVID-19 Testing, and Procurement of Medication and Vaccines;

  • P15.5275 billion as additional capital infusion to government banks (roughly P9 billion for the LBP and P6.5 billion for the DBP)

V. On top of these appropriations, our measure authorizes the President to exercise powers necessary to implementing a host of COVID-19 response and recovery interventions. These include, but are not limited to the following:

- Expediting the accreditation of viral testing kits that diagnose COVID-19;

 -Hiring of skilled med techs, molecular biologists, epidemiologists and other skill lab technicians to conduct COVID-19 testing;

 -Provision of emergency subsidies worth P5,000 to P8,000 to affected low-income households under specific quarantine conditions, as well as to households with recently-returned OFWs;

 -Unemployment or Involuntary Separation Assistance worth P5,000 to P8,000 for displaced workers including seasonal, contractual, and casual workers in private hospitals; workers in tourism; culture and the arts; creative industries including film, audiovisual, and broadcast workers; construction; public transportation; trade industries; freelancers; self-employed; and repatriated OFWs.

 -Special Risk Allowances for public and private healthcare workers, which is on top of hazard pay;

 -Compensation to Public and Private Healthcare Workers who have contracted COVID-19—worth P15,000 for mild or moderate cases; P100,000 for sever or critical; and P1 million in case of death;

 -Enhanced access to credit facilities to agrarian reform beneficiaries;

 -Subsidies and allowances for qualified students;

 -One-time cash assistance to affected teaching and non-teaching personnel, including part-time faculty or non-permanent teaching personnel in both public and private schools; and part-time faculty in SUCs;

 -Liberalize the grant of incentives for the manufacture or importation of critical equipment or supplies or essential goods, including PPEs, health care equipment and supplies;

 -Accelerate the deployment of critical ICT infrastructure, particularly additional cell towers, equipment, software, and wireless technologies to address the need for digital connectivity, internet speed and stability, by suspending the requirements to secure permits and clearances except for the building permit for 3 years from the effectivity of the law;

 -Instruct DTI to accelerate and promote online commerce, and digitalization of MSMEs;

 -Move deadlines and timelines for the filing and submission of documents, payment of taxes, fees, and other charges to ease the burden on individuals under community quarantine;

 -Authorize a 60-day grace period for the payment of all existing, current, and outstanding loans falling due on or before December 31, 2020; and,

 -Minimum 30-day grace period on residential and commercial rents of lessees not permitted to work, among many others.

VI. Mr. President, with the swift passage of Bayanihan 2, we hope to reinvigorate our people and renew their confidence in their government. The COVID-19 pandemic is truly the biggest challenge our country is facing in recent memory.

  •  Hindi pa tapos ang pandemya, G. Presidente. Pero wala ring katapusan ang ating pagpupursige at ang ating pag-asa na makakabangon tayong lahat muli sa COVID-19. Muli, sa bayanihan lamang tayo makakaahon muli. Maraming salamat!

News Latest News Feed