Manila, Philippines — The fate of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 is coming down to the wire as Congress needs to immediately take action to amend the law before it ends on Wednesday (June 30).
But since Congress is not in session today, lawmakers might need a special session to extend the validity of the law.
According to House Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez, all they need is a go signal from Malacañang.
“Medyo gipit na tayo sa oras kaya parang lumalabo na ating paghohold ng special session,” he said.
When asked about the matter, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque himself admits being clueless about the decision regarding Bayanihan 2.
Nevertheless, Malacañang hopes that there is still a way to utilize the remaining funds from Bayanihan 2 despite the fact that it is expiring tomorrow.
“So let us not foreclose the idea po na in the next na isang araw ay pupwede pa rin pong ma-obligate yan. Otherwise hindi naman po mawawala yung pera pupunta lang po yan sa national treasury,” Roque noted.
Filipino Nurses United, meanwhile, still hopes that healthcare workers will be able to receive their Special Risk Allowances (SRA) even those who are not assigned in hospital wards intended for COVID-19 patients.
“Sana lahat ng health worker makatanggap ng Special Risk Allowance kasi ang COVID-19 ay airborne. Once na pumasok ka sa ospital or any healthcare facility at risk na yung buhay mo,” noted FNU’s Secretary-General Jocelyn Andamo.
Apart from SRA, healthcare workers are also demanding compensation for meal, transportation, and accommodation expenses as well as the active duty hazard pay.
For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that it has already released the P9-B remaining fund for the healthcare workers’ SRA while looking for other sources to compensate for all other benefits due to healthcare workers.
“Tayo po ngayon ay nakikipag- usap sa [Department of Budget and Management] para po tayo makahanap pa ng pondo para maibigay ang monetization na accorded sa ating healthcare workers,” assured Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergerie.
The DOH added that another P3-B has been released for the recruitment of additional healthcare workers who have been deployed in areas with high risks of COVID-19 transmission. –MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)