P335B COVID stimulus package proposed


    SEN. Emmanuel Pacquiao has filed Senate Bill No. 2123, or the proposed Expanded Stimulus Package Act of 2021, which seeks to allot an additional P335 billion for the government’s pandemic recovery programs.

    Under Pacquiao’s proposed measure, P100 billion will be allocated for assistance to low-income individuals or households, and the homeless; P100 billion for workers’ subsidies, P100 billion for capacity building of critically-impacted sectors, P30 billion as assistance to displaced workers, P3 billion for internet allowance of government K-12 students and teachers, and P2 billion for the Commissioner on High Education as internet allowance of tertiary level teachers and students.

    Pacquiao said the P335-billion expanded stimulus bill is meant to augment the two Bayanihan Acts, which Congress passed to fund the national government’s response measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Meanwhile, the proposed “P10K Ayuda” bill filed by Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano at the House of Representatives yesterday got a boost after Sen. Christopher Go appealed to President Duterte and finance officials to provide additional assistance to poor Filipinos through an expanded Social Amelioration Program.

    Cayetano’s measure seeks to grant a one-time P10,000 cash assistance to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The former leader of the House of Representatives said Go’s support for his “10K Ayuda Bill” was “very significant” since the senator is known to everyone as the President’s “eyes and ears.”

    “I hope Congress would sense this and we convert into a Committee on the Whole or in any way that we can, even if we have to ask for a special session, in order to pass this. We did it in Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2, there’s no reason we can’t do it again,” Cayetano told reporters on Wednesday during the inauguration of the new isolation facility of Pateros.

    The bill seeks to give each Filipino family P10,000 or P1,500 per family member, whichever is higher, that they can use for their daily needs or to start their own businesses as the country waits for the full roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination program.

    The House, however, has yet to discuss the measure which remains pending at the committee on social services chaired by Rep. Alfred Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City).

    “Although Filipinos are known for their grit and resilience, assistance to our countrymen is still needed to help them survive and get back on their feet amid the pandemic while a viable vaccine program for all Filipinos is being rolled out by the government,” Cayetano said in House Bill No. 8597 or the proposed “Bangon Pamilyang Pilipino (BPP) Assistance Program.”

    Go, in a statement, said that with the re-imposition of tougher quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan, the government lawmakers and the government should “work together to find the funds needed to further help our people, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are adversely affected by tighter restrictions which we imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

    Go urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development to “determine how many of our kababayans nationwide should receive additional social amelioration, so we can have a clearer picture how much resources are needed to implement this program.” – With Wendell Vigilia