Voting 238-0-1, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on third and final reading the Bayanihan to Arise as One bill or the Bayanihan 3, which contains a P401-billion stimulus package to provide more aid to Filipinos during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said: "I am filled with gratitude for the passage of the proposed Bayanihan to Arise As One Act, or Bayanihan 3, in the House of Representatives after my colleagues set aside politics and crossed party lines to unite for a common goal of providing much-needed help to our fellow Filipinos facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Velasco, principal author of House Bill 9411 or the proposed Bayanihan 3 bill, said the approval of the measure "is a historical moment in the legislative process in this chamber as this measure has been co-authored by almost all of its members."
"For this, I profusely thank each House member for sharing my aspiration and that of Marikina Representative Stella Quimbo’s of providing fresh assistance to our people who need it badly in this time of difficulty," Velasco said.
According to the House chief, "this P401-billion lifeline measure outlines additional interventions to ensure that our kababayans are provided direct emergency and social amelioration, have sustainable sources of income, and have stable access to affordable food and quality health services despite the impact of the COVID-19 crisis."
He said: "The centerpiece of this proposed legislation is the P216-billion funding for two rounds of cash aid worth P2,000 to be given to each of the 108 million Filipinos regardless of age and economic status.
“The bill also contains allocations for wage subsidies, emergency assistance to quarantine-affected households, assistance to displaced workers, national nutrition, financial assistance to agri-fishery sector and cooperatives, medical assistance to indigents, local government support, free COVID-testing for seafarers and other overseas Filipino workers, pension and gratuity fund for retired military and uniformed personnel, and support to basic and higher education.
"We firmly believe that Filipinos deserve all these interventions—urgently and immediately. Bayanihan 3 offers a real lifeline for our countrymen struggling to navigate the challenges of COVID-19."
The proposed Bayanihan 3 is divided into three phases, with a budget breakdown of P165.9 billion for Phase 1, P186 billion for Phase 2, and P48.6 for Phase 3.
Under the bill, two rounds of financial aid worth P1,000 will be granted to each Filipino.
The cash subsidy program will have a total funding of P216 billion. Pandemic-affected households will receive a one-time cash subsidy worth P5,000 to P10,000 to be implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The bill also offers wage subsidies, assistance to displaced workers, assistance to the agri-fishery sector and cooperatives, medical assistance to indigents, local government support fund, and support for basic education.
It states that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas may make additional advances, with or without interest, to the national government of up to 10 percent of the average income of the government for fiscal years 2018 to 2020 to finance expenditures authorized by law to address the pandemic.
Mandatory dividend remittances by government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) will also be increased from 50 percent to 75 percent, while the President will have the power to withdraw capital from overcapitalized GOCCs.