THE House of Representatives is set t approve the proposed Bayanihan To Recover As One Act or the Bayanihan 2 next week, Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said.
In an interview by GMA News Online, Romualdez said House Bill 6953 is getting overwhelming support from the members of the House due to the fact that it could help the government respond to the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“The expected third reading approval of Bayanihan 2 is next week,” Romualdez said.
In the House version, P162 billion will be appropriated for the anti-pandemic and recovery programs of the government including the P10.5 billion to be used for hiring of additional healthcare workers and providing additional allowance to medical frontliners.
Earlier, leaders of different political parties and party-list groups in the House of Representatives submitted a manifesto of support for the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in its continued response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Heeding the President's call, we now declare our commitment to unify our respective political parties and party-list organizations in order for the House of Representatives to pass the Bayanihan 2 bill at the soonest time possible,” the House manifesto read.
The House version of Bayanihan 2 bill will provide a total of P162 billion economic stimulus and help Filipinos to recover from the virus' impact.
On March 23 the House of Representatives acted with a sense of urgency and approved during a Special Session, the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Bill”.
A bill that granted President Rodrigo Roa Duterte with additional authority to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines,the measure was eventually signed by the President and enacted into law as Republic Act No. 11469.
"Despite our gallant stand against COVID-19, the global health crisis continues to wreak havoc on our people's health and has brought our country's economic progress to a screeching halt," the lawmakers said.
As the number of COVID cases continues to rise, some business establishments have resorted to closure and millions of Filipinos face the threat of unemployment, the pointed out.
In his 5th State of the Nation Address, the President appealed for the passage of a second version of the Bayanihan Law to prevent the spread of the COVID virus and speed up the country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Included in the Bayanihan 2 are the P10 billion subsidy to the National Health Insurance Program to be used exclusively to cover COVID 19 expanded testing and for allocation of COVID 19 confinements (inpatients); P10.5 billion allocated to Department of Health for continuous employment of existing emergency Human Resource for Health (HRH) and additional emergency HRH for hiring, Php 10,000 Risk Allowance for Private Sector HCWs treating COVID-19 Patients, free life insurance for all Healthcare Workers (HCWs) (Public and Private), for free accommodation, transportation, and meals for all HCWs (Public and Private), Special Risk allowance for Public HCWs directly managing COVID-19 patients, for HCW compensation for mild, severe/critical, deaths from COVID-19, augmentation for operations of DOH Hospitals; P3 billion for the procurement of face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) sets, shoe covers and face shields to be provided to all Barangay Health Workers, Barangay Officials, and other indigent persons that need protection; P4 billion to finance the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories for frontliners and for the expansion of government hospital capacity all over the country; P20 billion for the implementation of appropriate cash-for-work programs for displaced workers.
For his part, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has emphasized the importance of unity in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the country “cannot hope to succeed without unity of purpose among our people.”
The Speaker said the Manifesto of Unity is the House leadership’s way of assuring the country’s healthcare workers that, like the President, “we hear your urgent pleas.”
Aside from Cayetano, the manifesto was signed by Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte, and Representatives Wilter "Sharky" Wee Palma II (Lakas-CMD), Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (National Unity Party), Edgar Erice (Liberal Party), Weslie Gatchalian (Nationalist People's Coalition), Sharon Garin (Party List Coalition), and Deputy Speakers Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales Jr. (PDP-Laban) and Raneo "Ranie" Abu (Nacionalista Party).
The manifesto was released on the same day the Lower House approved the Bayanihan II on second reading.
"We, the leaders of political parties and party-list organizations in the House of Representatives, join the Filipino nation in solidarity as we continue our collective action to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the country, with the hope to mitigate the pandemic's impact on people's lives," the House leaders said.