MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will not certify as urgent the proposed Bayanihan to Arise As One Act or the Bayanihan 3, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
This, after the House of Representatives, intends to fast-track the passage of Bayanihan 3.
In a virtual press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Finance Secretary Dominguez III had told him that Duterte has no plan yet to certify Bayanihan 3 as urgent.
Roque, quoting Dominguez, said the economic team’s firm stance is to work with Congress to identify the potential source of funds for the proposed Bayanihan 3 without reaching the projected budget deficit of 8.9 percent this year.
“Ang sagot po niya (Dominguez’s answer was), ‘No. We told Congress that together, we should identify sources of additional funds for Bayanihan 3, so our fiscal deficit will not exceed the estimates of 8.9 percent for 2021,’” Roque said.
He, nevertheless, ensured that the country still has available funds taken from the 2021 national budget to help Filipinos affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Quizzed if the government has a plan to give another round of assistance to Filipinos residing in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine, Roque said the country’s economic managers would look for funds.
“Ang sabi nga po ni Secretary Dominguez, humahanap pa po tayo ng potential sources of funding para hindi po masyadong tumaas ang budget deficit. Ang gusto po natin ay magkaroon ng fiscal deficit na hindi po lalagpas ng 8.9 percent for 2021. Humahanap pa po ng pondo (Secretary Dominguez said we are still looking for potential sources of funding so our budget deficit would not be too high. What we want is to have a fiscal deficit not exceeding 8.9 percent. We are looking for funds),” he said.
The proposed Bayanihan 3 earmarks PHP420 billion for the Covid-19 response and recovery interventions grounded on economic inclusivity and collective growth.
The measure allocates PHP108 billion for additional social amelioration to impacted households, PHP100 billion for capacity-building for impacted sectors, PHP52 billion for wage subsidies, PHP70 billion for capacity-building for agricultural producers, PHP30 billion for Internet allowances to students, and PHP30 billion for assistance to displaced workers.
It also states that each household member will receive PHP1,000 regardless of their economic status. On top of this, a PHP1,000 allowance will be distributed to each student and teacher and PHP8,000 for every displaced worker.
It also allots PHP25 billion for Covid-19 treatment and vaccines and PHP5 billion for the rehabilitation of areas impacted by recent floods and typhoons.
Pending the passage of Bayanihan 3, residents in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, which have been placed under the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine from March 29 until April 12, will receive cash aid worth between PHP1,000 per person or PHP4,000 per family. (PNA)