Econ managers now identifying sources for Bayanihan 3 — Velasco

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 13) — The government’s economic managers are now looking for potential sources to fund the ₱420-billion Bayanihan 3, according to House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

In a statement, Velasco said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado told him in a meeting on April 8 that their departments are now in the process of identifying sources for the stimulus package seen to boost the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our economic managers see Bayanihan 3 as a lifeline for many Filipinos facing economic hardship during this crisis, and I’m very glad that we are aligned on this,” he said.

During a virtual briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque revealed a statement from Dominguez, wherein the latter emphasized the need to identify sources of additional funds for Bayanihan 3 "so our fiscal deficit will not exceed the estimates of 8.9% for 2021.”

Velasco and Marikina City 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo earlier filed House Bill No. 8628, or the Bayanihan to Arise as One Act, which hopes to provide additional assistance to affected sectors and revive the recession-hit economy.

The proposed measure aims to allocate ₱108 billion for additional cash aid for households, ₱100 billion for capacity-building for affected sectors, ₱52 billion for wage subsidies, ₱70 billion for capacity-building for agricultural producers, ₱30 billion for internet allowance of students and teachers, ₱30 billion for assistance to displaced workers, ₱25 billion for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines, and ₱5 billion for the rehabilitation of areas impacted by recent floods and typhoons.

It is currently pending with the House Committee on Economic Affairs, which created a technical working group to consolidate other related bills.

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Earlier, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon urged President Rodrigo Duterte to call for a special session of Congress to pass the measure, as well as other bills, to help families affected by the crisis. Congress is on break until May 17.

Meanwhile, Roque said they believe that the declaration of a modified ECQ in NCR Plus is not premature amid rising COVID-19 infections. He said the decision was based on many factors, including the country’s improved healthcare capacity.

The government is continuously constructing modular hospitals and additional isolation facilities especially in Metro Manila, given its high occupancy rate.