Press Release
February 11, 2021


Sen. Grace Poe said the Filipino people will be holding an empty promise if another sequel to the Bayanihan law is passed, but without appropriate funds.

"I agree with any initiative that will help our people reeling from this pandemic, anything that the government can give," Poe said in an interview.

"I would like to know where we will be able to source the funding for that because even in Bayanihan 2, a portion of the appropriation is under unprogrammed funds. How are we going to source it, where are we going to spend it? We have to know the real score so that we will not make empty promises to the people," she stressed.

Several bills have been filed seeking the passage of a Bayanihan 3 to secure an additional stimulus package to help rev up the economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before passing a new stimulus law, Poe said the public must also know how the current Bayanihan 2 funds are being used as part of the COVID-19 response.

"Let us consider that Bayanihan 2 was extended, therefore, we still need to get a proper accounting of what was spent in Bayanihan 2—if there are any savings or deficit," Poe said.

"Another important question that should be raised is where are we exactly going to source the funding for this?" she added, noting that the country is currently saddled with P10 trillion debt in 2020 and is programmed to borrow P3 trillion more this year.

Poe also added that passing new taxes to fund the measure may not be feasible, citing the backlash from the recent hearings on the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs).

"Lalung-lalo na sa panahon ngayon, sa pandemyang ito, ngayon pa nila tataasan ng ganyang kalaking singil na hindi naman mapupunta sa ating mga kababayan ang pera," said Poe on the timing and prohibitive increase in the PMVIC fees.

Poe said the government should first make an inventory of unreleased and unused funds from Bayanihan 2 as well as slow-moving funds under the 2021 National Budget to assist distressed sectors.

Bayanihan 2 or Bayanihan To Recover As One Act was signed into law in September 2020 with an appropriation of P165.5 billion. It was supposed to expire in December 2020 but was extended until June 2021 which means that government agencies may still release or use the remainder of the fund until the law's new expiration.

A total of P386.1 billion was also released under the earlier Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Bayanihan 1 passed at the onset of the COVID-19 quarantine.

Both laws were previously funded by cutting non-implementable government programs and projects or by taking out new loans.

Poe also reiterated her call that the approach of the government on recovery should be centered job-generation.

"The best strategy is still to make sure Filipinos have jobs. Cash aid is a one-time benefit, in contrast to employment which can give them a secure income."

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