THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading three important measures, two of which were certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.
House Bill 6656 or an Act Extending the Availability of the 2020 appropriatons to December 31, 2021 got 221 affirmative votes. Six solons objected.
House Bill 8063 or an An Act Extending the Effectivity of Republic Act. No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2) got 197 yes votes and six no votes.
These two bills aim to boost the government response and recovery programs for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Meanwhile, House Bill 8136 or An Act Declaring the Coconut Levy Assets as A trust Fund got the nod of 221 lawmakers but was rejected by six solons.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco expressed gratitude to his colleagues for the quick action on the three pressing bills.
HB 6656, seeking to extend the availability of funds under the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) until Dec. 31, 2021, was authored by Velasco,
Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Minority Leader Joseph Stephen “Caraps” Paduano, Committee on Appropriations Chair Eric Yap and six other lawmakers.
“I am grateful that my colleagues in the House have worked to pass this important legislation that would help support the economic stimulus efforts of the government while the country still battles with COVID-19,” said.
“Through this measure, the government will be able to deploy the remaining significant funding to government agencies and equip them in delivering delayed services and boosting the economic activity in the country leading to its economic growth and recovery,” he added.
Under the bill, all appropriations authorized under the P4.1-trillion 2020 GAA, including budgetary support for government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), will be available for release and disbursement until Dec. 31, 2021.
The measure also provides that appropriations for infrastructure capital outlays, including those for subsidy releases for GOCCs, which will be valid for obligation under Dec. 31 next year.
The Bayanihan 2 Act expires on December 19 but will be extended until June 2021 once the measure is signed into law.
The purpose of the measure is to extend the effectivity of Bayanihan 2 in order to accelerate the country’s socioeconomic recovery from the adverse impact brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Committee on Appropriations Chair Eric Yap and Committee on Accounts Chair Paolo “Pulong” Duterte are also principal authors of the bill.
Bayanihan 2, which provides for a stimulus package of P140 billion in regular appropriation and P25 billion as standby fund, is set to expire on December 19, with a huge portion of the allocation yet to be released.
Coco levy funds
House Bill 8136 will benefit poor coconut farmers benefit from taxes collected from them decades ago, now worth at least P76 billion in assets.
The bill is expected to benefit around 3.5 million coconut farmers from 68 coconut-producing provinces, who own not more than five hectares of farmland.
It aims to increase the income of coconut farmers, alleviate poverty and promote social equity, and rehabilitate and modernize the industry towards farm productivity.
Under the proposed legislation, the trust fund will be maintained for 99 years under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan to be formulated by the Philippine Coconut Authority. The Department of Finance shall be designated as the manager of the trust fund.Publication Source : People's Journal