The proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act (Bayanihan 3) can only be passed if the country still has available funds, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
“We’ll see first if we still need it, and second, if we still have possible fund sources,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a former lawmaker, said in a virtual Palace press briefing in Filipino.
On Feb. 6, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo filed Bayanihan 3, which provides a P420-billion stimulus package to help the government meet its recovery targets amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The proposed measure is an extension of the now-expired Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) and Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) signed in March and September 2020, respectively.
The funds allocated for Bayanihan 2, which gives the government resources and additional powers to revive the pandemic-hit economy, will be available until June 30.
While he reiterated that the Palace appreciates Velasco’s move to push for Bayanihan 3, Roque said the government has enough financial resources to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As of now, we have enough fiscal stimulus under 2021 budget. Our Bayanihan 2 has also been extended,” Roque said in Filipino.
Through Republic Act 11520, the shelf life of the 2020 General Appropriations Act has been extended until Dec. 31 this year.
DUTERTE TO ACT ON HEALTH WORKERS’ HAZARD PAY
Meantime, Roque also vowed to validate the report that frontline health workers have yet to receive their hazard duty pay, stressing that President Rodrigo Duterte would not allow any delay in the release of their hazard pay.
“Let me validate this information because if you’d recall, the President got mad when he learned that the compensation for medical front-liners was not yet released,” he said in Filipino.
Roque was also not discounting the possibility that the reason for the allegedly delayed distribution of hazard pay might be “very valid”.
I am confident that since the President once criticized the delayed release of such benefits for medical front-liners, there may be a very valid reason if there is another delay. Let me validate first,” he said in Filipino.
On Jan. 30, the group Alliance of Health Workers said the government “remained extremely slow, numb and deaf in responding to the needs of health workers and patients” amid the pandemic