MANILA - Several lawmakers are proposing to give 108 million Filipinos P2,000 each, regardless of social class or age, to help them deal with the COVID-19 crisis, under the P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3 bill.
Proponents of the bill said the “sana all” ayuda or aid will be given in 2 tranches of P1,000 each, with all Filipinos receiving the financial aid as a form of universal basic income.
“The total amount is P405.6 billion, which includes P216 billion for the ayuda for all Filipinos. There are different kinds of ayuda. The most basic kind is the “Sana All” ayuda which is 1,000 per head. We’ll be doing this in 2 tranches,” said Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, one of the proponents of the bill.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said giving a universal basic income will solve the disbursement problems experienced in previous initiatives.
“Kasi wala nga national ID so mas mabilis kung gamitin mo lang yun number of people per barangay as basis for budgeting and mas maiiwasan natin yung adverse developments, adverse events during the SAP,” Salceda said.
(Because we don’t have a national ID, it’s faster if you just use the number of people per barangay as a basis for budgeting, and avoid the adverse developments, adverse events during the SAP [social amelioration program].)
Quimbo noted that many people who lined up for SAP did not get any financial assistance because their names were not on the list of beneficiaries.
Quimbo added that while everyone will get the same amount, poor families would get more ayuda as the average number of members in poor families is 6, while middle and upper classes sometimes just have 3 members.
“So dun na lang alone, makikita natin na the poorest families will certainly get more than the riches families,” Quimbo said.
Well-to-do people can also opt not to take the financial aid, she added.
Besides the universal basic income, Bayanihan 3 also allots P30 billion in emergency assistance to affected households; P20 billion for wage subsidies; P25 billion for assistance to displaced or disadvantaged workers; P10 billion for national nutrition; P30 billion for the agri-fishery Sector; P9 billion for medical assistance to indigents program, P5 billion in relief to local government units, P400 million for RT-PCR testing for OFWS, P54.6 billion under the pension and gratuity fund, P5.6 billion in support to basic education for laptops for teachers, mobile and internet allowance, distance learning modalities, radio based instruction infrastructure and N95 mask for DepEd employees and teachers.
Salceda, who chairs the House tax writing panel, said the bill will have several sources of funds.
He said they seek to source funds from provisional advances from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas worth P294.8 billion, increased remittance of dividends from government-owned and controlled corporations worth P78 billion, and capital withdrawal from GOCCs which will depend on a list of eligible GOCCs.
Capital withdrawals from GOCCs may reach P35 billion, with additional revenues expected from the passage of the e-sabong tax worth P16 billion over 5 years and P177 billion from taxes on Philippine offshore gaming operators spread out over 5 years.
“Most of the proposed funding sources for Bayanihan 3 will come from existing unutilized appropriations, unreleased balances, dividends from GOCCs, and excess revenue collections from tax and non-tax sources,” said Aklan 2nd District Rep. Teodorico Haresco, who chairs the House panel on economic affairs.
Bayanihan 3 will be submitted to the Committee on Appropriations before it can be submitted to the full House for its action.
A previous version of Bayanihan 3, called the ARISE bill, was shot down by economic managers who said the government needed to exercise fiscal prudence.
Businessmen and economists meanwhile have called for a bigger economic stimulus package as the country experienced its worst economic contraction since World War 2.