Pacquiao bats for P335-billion pandemic stimulus bill

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2021 02:06 PM

Pacquiao bats for P335-billion pandemic stimulus bill 1
Sen. Manny Pacquiao delivers a privilege speech in the Senate on March 3, 2021. Albert Calvelo, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday filed a bill seeking to create a fresh P335-billion stimulus package for workers and families who still need cash aid a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Under Senate Bill No. 2123, Pacquiao seeks to allocate funds as follows:

  •  P100 billion to help low-income individuals, households and homeless persons
  •  P100 billion for worker subsidies
  •  P100 billion for capacity-building in critically affected sectors
  •  P30 billion for displaced workers assistance
  •  P3 billion for internet allowance for DepEd K-12 teachers and students 
  •  P2 billion for internet allowance for tertiary level teachers and students

"At present, there is no single cohesive action plan in place to cushion the blow brought about by the pandemic to our people's everyday life," Pacquiao said in the bill's explanatory note.

"This bill fills up such void in our current system as it addresses the gaps in our policies while maintaining transparency measures among our agencies," he said.

Pacquiao's bill was filed exactly a year after the Senate passed on final reading the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act"— the Philippines' first COVID-19 stimulus package.

Bayanihan 1 authorized the national government to provide a monthly allowance of between P5,000 and P8,000 to some 18 million indigent families for 2 months, while their sources of income were crippled by the lockdown in Luzon.

It also guaranteed special benefits for health frontliners including the grant of additional compensation on top of their usual hazard pay.

In July 2020, Congress passed the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) to allow the national government to procure more COVID-19 test kits, and help infuse capital into small businesses that were forced to either close or downscale due to COVID-related restrictions.

Last year, legislators decided to extend the validity of the Bayanihan 2 until June 30, 2021 as the government has yet to utilize some P38 billion in aid about a month before its original mid-December expiration date.


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