No photo available

24 views - 3 months ago

Palace must expedite Bayanihan III passage

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte must set the tone for his key allies in the Congress to focus the next package, which will likely be known as Bayanihan III following the naming conventions adopted in the first two rounds, on providing aid directly to the people.

Emmanuel J. Lopez, dean of the Graduate School of Colegio de San Juan de Letran, said Instead of imposing price controls, “the government should instead introduce a natural stimulus package that will create or augment incomes.”

He said the government should extend assistance to the hardest hit sectors.

Congress last year passed two laws ensuring funding for coronavirus response measures worth hundreds of billions of pesos,

Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan I) reallocated about P275 billion of the 2020 budget for an emergency subsidy program,

RA 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II) provided P165.5 billion for measures to boost the economy. A Palace declaration of priority status for such measures will remove some procedural hurdles to their passage while likely mobilizing the President’s Congressional allies.

“Meaningful stimulus is possible if the economic managers stop fetishizing creditworthiness and infrastructure and are willing to start raising wealth and income taxes on the rich,” Sonny A. Africa, executive director of IBON Foundation, told said.

He said a fresh stimulus program should include substantial emergency cash subsidies to increase household incomes and substantial agricultural support to raise productivity and lower food prices.

The House economic affairs committee in late 2020 created a technical working group to reconcile two bills in the House calling for a Bayanihan III law.

House Bill (HB) No. 8031, or the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act, provides for an additional P400-billion stimulus package to help people deal with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, as well as the series of typhoons which hit the country in late 2020.

 HB No. 8059, or the proposed Bayanihan to Rebuild as One Act, on the other hand, seeks to provide P247 billion to emergency response and economic recovery programs.

Asian Institute of Management Economist John Paolo R. Rivera said policymakers should “assess first the effectiveness of Bayanihan I and II” before dealing with a Bayanihan III.