President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which provides for a PHP165.5-billion fund to finance the country’s response and recovery interventions intended to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed in a statement on September 11, 2020, that Duterte signed the law, which also grants special powers anew to the president to best deal with the pandemic.
“We confirm that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed into law the Bayanihan II or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act,” he said.
Roque thanked the leaders of both Houses of Congress for the swift passage of the measure that was ratified in August.
“We consider the Bayanihan II crucial in our efforts to gradually re-open the economy, support businesses and revitalize growth as we make our country resilient to Covid-19 by strengthening our health sector, particularly our healthcare capacity and pandemic response,” Roque said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and President Duterte’s former aide and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go have also confirmed the signing of the law in separate messages.
The stimulus package consists of PHP140 billion of regular appropriations and an additional standby fund of PHP25.5 billion.
Under the law, PHP3 billion will be allotted for the procurement of personal protective equipment, face masks, and face shields; PHP4.5 billion for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities and the expansion of government hospital capacity; and PHP13.5 billion for emergency employment and compensation of health workers.
A total of PHP4.5 billion will be used to finance isolation facilities, hotel accommodation, food, and transportation of Covid-19 patients; and PHP5 billion for the hiring of contact tracers.
Furthermore, PHP13 billion will be allocated for the cash-for-work program; PHP9.5 billion for assistance to public utility drivers and other programs of the transportation department; PHP6 billion for “individuals in crisis” and other programs of the social welfare department; PHP4 billion for the tourism industry; and PHP4 billion for the education department’s implementation of digital learning.
The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) is the second installment of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), which gave Duterte emergency powers to address the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
The Bayanihan 1 law already expired on June 25. (Filane Mikee Cervantes, PNA)