MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday vowed that the House of Representatives will fast track the passage of the proposed Bayanihan Law 3 to aid Filipinos struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic and to revive the country’s economy.
Velasco said the lower chamber will hasten the plenary approval of the measure once it resumes session on May 17.
“As soon as we get back on May 17, we will fast track the approval of Bayanihan 3,” Velasco said in a radio interview.
Velasco made the statement after three House committees approved, during the session break, the substitute bill to several Bayanihan 3 measures, including House Bill 8628 or the proposed “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act,” which he and Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo had filed.
The substitute bill only needs the approval of the House Committee on Appropriations before it can be forwarded to the plenary for approval on second and third readings.
The House Committees on Economic Affairs, on Social Services, and on Ways and Means recently approved a P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3, which includes two rounds of cash aid amounting to P1,000 per Filipino.
The cash aid, totaling P216 billion, would be given to all 108 million Filipinos regardless of social status.
“Lahat po dapat mabigyan natin ng tulong ngayong pandemya. It has to be equitable. Hindi ‘yung isang household bibigyan ng certain amount e baka tatatlo lang sila sa bahay tapos ang isang household naman ay 15 ang myembro. Dapat po pantay-pantay,” he said.
Velasco said the House is constantly communicating with the Department of Finance (DOF) as to the funding sources for Bayanihan 3.
To raise funds for Bayanihan 3, the House speaker said that Congress is seeking to authorize the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to make additional advances with or without interest to the national government to finance expenditures authorized by law to address and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from providing social amelioration, the Bayanihan 3 bill seeks to allocate funds for capacity-building for impacted sectors, wage subsidies, capacity-building for agricultural producers, internet allowances for students and teachers, COVID-19 treatment and vaccines, and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by recent floods and typhoons, Velasco said.