Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Sunday a larger recovery fund under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 is needed to expand the government’s social-assistance package.
He made the statement even as he aired his support to the P162-billion funding proposed by the House of Representatives.
He said that would include another round of social amelioration program or SAP, commonly referred to as “ayuda,” to the low-income families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drilon said Bayanihan 2 would provide for “crucial safety nets” to all the sectors hit by the pandemic, hence the need to increase its funding.
“We need to increase the scope of the various social and economic assistance programs laid out in Bayanihan 2,” Drilon said.
“Without these much-needed interventions, poverty and unemployment will continue to rise, business establishments will be forced to permanently shut down and our economy will continue to contract.”
The stimulus fund, Drilon said, could still be increased to at least the level being proposed by the House of Representatives. The Department of Finance had earlier said it could only provide up to P140 billion for the stimulus fund.
Drilon said both the formal and informal sectors had been hit by the pandemic.
“It is the responsibility of the government to help them particularly in these trying times. No sector should be left behind,” Drilon said.
He cited some programs that Bayanihan 2 aimed to provide for the most vulnerable sectors. These include the proposed P15,000 in cash assistance to health care workers who would contract mild to moderate COVID-19, P100,000 to nurses and doctors who would contract a severe case of COVID-19, P1 million to the families of health care workers who die of the disease, P5,000 to P8,000 in cash subsidy to low-income earners, cash assistance to teachers from private schools and tertiary education institutions and part-time faculty in state universities and colleges, and cash-for-work o displaced workers.
The Senate version provided standby funding of P10 billion for the procurement of PCR Testing and extraction kits, supplies, materials and reagents, P15 billion for the implementation of the cash-for-work program and the TUPAD, P17 billion for the unemployment or involuntary separation assistance to displaced workers or employees, P50 billion in capital to government financial institutions including the P5 billion to Philippine Guarantee Corp., P30 billion to Landbank, P15 billion to the Development Bank of the Philippines, P17 billion to the Agriculture sector, P10 to the Tourism sector, and P3 billion to state universities and colleges.
Drilon said the collectibles from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations licensees and service providers could be used to bridge the funding gap.