Duterte signs law extending Bayanihan 2

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    PRESIDENT Duterte has signed two measures into law, one that extends the validity of the government’s multi-billion peso coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fund program under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), and the availability of the General Appropriations Act of 2020 or last year’s budget until June 30 and December 31, 2021.

    Malacanang yesterday released copies of Republic Act (RA) 11519, which extends the effectivity of RA 11494 or the Bayanihan 2, and RA 11520 which extends RA 11465 or the 2020 budget. Both were signed into law last December 29.

    Bayanihan 2, which expired on December 19, 2020, provides funding for the COVID-19 response and relief program of the government, including allocations to strengthen the national healthcare system and provide financial relief to individuals and industries facing losses due to the pandemic. It will be available until June 30.

    Under the 2020 budget are allocations for several government projects that had been delayed due to the imposition of various levels of community quarantine in different parts of the country since March 2020.

    The extended availability of the 2020 budget allows the continuity of the 2020 national spending plan, including last year’s budgetary allocation and subsidy releases for government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), for infrastructure capital outlays, and for maintenance and other operating expenses until December 31.

    The extension of the Bayanihan2 and 2020 budget would enable government to tap and use some P156 billion worth of unspent appropriations last year.