House determined to pass Bayanihan 3 – Speaker Velasco

BOAC, Marinduque — Marinduque Representative and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday said the House of Representatives is determined to pass a third COVID-19 relief package to aid struggling Filipinos and revive the country’s pandemic-ravaged economy.

In a radio interview, Velasco said the legislative chamber will hasten the plenary approval of the proposed Bayanihan 3 law once it resumes session on May 17.

“As soon as we get back on May 17, we will fast-track the approval of Bayanihan 3,” Velasco told radio station DZME.

Velasco made the statement after three House committees approved during the break the substitute bill to several Bayanihan 3 measures, including House Bill 8628 or the proposed “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act,” which he and Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo had filed.

The substitute bill only needs the approval of the House Committee on Appropriations before it can be reported to the plenary for approval on second and third readings.

The House Committees on Economic Affairs, on Social Services and on Ways and Means recently approved a P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3, which includes two rounds of cash aid amounting to P1,000 per Filipino.

The cash aid, totaling P216 billion, would be given to all 108 million Filipinos regardless of social status.

“Lahat po dapat mabigyan natin ng tulong ngayong pandemya [Everyone should be given an assistance during this pandemic],” Velasco pointed out.

He added: “It has to be equitable. Hindi ‘yung isang household bibigyan ng certain amount e baka tatatlo lang sila sa bahay tapos ang isang household naman ay 15 ang myembro. Dapat po pantay-pantay [A household will not be given a certain amount, maybe there will be only three in the house and then a household will have 15 members. It must be equal].”

Velasco said the House is constantly communicating with the Department of Finance (DOF) as to the funding sources for Bayanihan 3.

“Konting discussions na lang with DOF maipapasa natin ito [We can pass it on with just a few discussions with DOF],” he added.

To raise funds for Bayanihan 3, Congress seeks to authorize the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to make additional advances with or without interest to the national government to finance expenditures authorized by law to address and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also wants to increase from 50 percent to 75 percent the mandatory dividend remittances by government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and to grant the President the power to withdraw capital from overcapitalized GOCCs.

In pushing for Bayanihan 3, Velasco said that while the two previous Bayanihan laws have increased the government’s initial capacity to respond to the pandemic, these were “not sufficient for the genuine economic recovery of the country.”

He strongly believes that a third economic stimulus package will provide much-needed lifeline to individuals, families and businesses severely affected by the pandemic.

Apart from providing social amelioration to every Filipino, Velasco’s Bayanihan 3 bill seeks to allocate funds for capacity-building for impacted sectors, wage subsidies, capacity-building for agricultural producers, internet allowances for students and teachers, COVID-19 treatment and vaccines, and rehabilitation of areas ravaged by recent floods and typhoons. — Marinduquenews.com

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