MANILA, Philippines — All 110 million Filipinos will receive “ayuda” or cash aid of P2,000 each under the Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or Bayanihan 3 law being deliberated in Congress.
The all-inclusive cash aid will cover the rich, the poor and those in the middle class and will be distributed in two tranches under the P405.6-billion measure, its proponents said.
Reps. Sharon Garin and Stella Quimbo, both economists and members of the technical working group that drafted the consolidated Bayanihan 3 bill, said this proposed fourth ayuda program seeks to provide equitable distribution of financial assistance across social classes.
“Everyone’s affected by this pandemic – poor Filipinos, rich Filipinos, and especially those in the middle class who were not covered by previous ayuda… So this ayuda will be for everybody,” Garin said on Tuesday night’s episode of “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News.
The AAMBIS-OWA party-list representative said the bill also includes programs to boost existing social services, including financial support for displaced workers and families in areas under strict lockdowns.
Also on The Chiefs, Quimbo explained that the all-inclusive ayuda system will address loopholes in the three previous versions of the social amelioration program (SAP).
“There were so many complaints on the distribution (of the previous SAP programs), so it’s better to err in over inclusion rather than over exclusion,” the Marikina congresswoman and deputy minority leader stressed.
Quimbo, principal author of the bill, said the proposed ayuda will be “progressive” and allows rich citizens to waive their P2,000 cash assistance from the government.
“This will be like the community pantry – you should get what you need. The funds from waived ayuda will be carried over to the other programs in the measure,” she said.
Garin, ways and means committee vice chair, gave assurance that the measure is feasible despite government’s fund shortage.
She revealed that the funding for Bayanihan 3 will come from fiscal measures, particularly increase in dividend rate of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) from 50 percent to 75 percent and borrowing from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) just like in the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws.
This had been agreed upon by proponents and economic managers, said Garin. “The main focus is direct assistance… This will also trigger consumption, which will benefit the economy in return,” she added.
For his part, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the chamber will prioritize the passage of the Bayanihan 3 bill upon the resumption of session this month.
“As soon as we get back on May 17, we will fast-track the approval of Bayanihan 3… Everyone will get help during this pandemic,” he assured the public in a radio interview.
Bayanihan 2 extension
Meanwhile, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte filed a bill further extending the validity and effectivity of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) until the end of this year.
The measure, which provides for social amelioration and economic stimulus packages, originally lapsed on Dec. 31 last year and was extended by Congress until June 30 to give the government more time to implement measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Villafuerte, principal author of the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws, said there is a need to extend further the powers granted to the executive branch to effectively respond to the pandemic, considering the new surge in the cases that already breached the 1 million mark this week.
He said the extension “shall give the government the opportunity to continuously implement the recovery and stimulus programs specified in Bayanihan 2, most especially in allocating funds for more essential and relevant expenses necessary to recover from the distressing effects of this global pandemic.” (PhilStar.com)