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Palace says proposed Bayanihan 3 still premature

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said that some lawmakers’ suggestion to push for a third Bayanihan law to aid victims of recent typhoons is still “premature” as the government is still assessing whether the proposed 2021 national budget will be sufficient.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto broached the idea of a Bayanihan 3 to help calamity-stricken provinces.

Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo also suggested a third Bayanihan law to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the country.

Citing Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Roque said it is better to wait for the proposed 2021 national budget and assess whether it would contain enough funds to sufficiently address recent disasters.

Well, tignan po muna natin, gaya ng sinabi ni Secretary Dominguez kung anong lalabas dito sa budget na binubuo ngayon sa Kongreso,” he said in a press briefing in Alcala, Cagayan.

Roque, however, said a Bayanihan 3 could be proposed if the 2021 budget would be deemed insufficient.

At kung meron pong kakulangan, pupuwede naman po magpapasa ulit ng Bayanihan 3. Pero sa ngayon po parang premature pa ‘yan dahil hindi pa natin nakikita kung anong magiging anyo at anong mangyayari doon sa proposed budget for 2021. Baka naman po kung napaloob na ‘yan sa 2021 budget, hindi na po kakailanganin ang Bayanihan 3,” he added.

Dominguez earlier said his department is currently assessing the need for a third Bayanihan law after successive typhoons ravaged parts of the country.

We are in the process of evaluating the damage of the series of typhoons and the amounts required to address these, and will determine whether or not the current budget will be sufficient,” he said.

On March 25, Duterte signed Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) which grants him additional powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic and allows the government to reallocate, realign, and reprogram almost P275 billion from the 2020 national budget to fund the government’s efforts to combat COVID-19.

The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), signed by Duterte last Sept. 11, extends his special powers to deal with the health crisis and provides a stimulus package of P140 billion in regular appropriation and P25 billion as standby funding.

Earlier, the Congress vowed to pass the 2021 national budget before yearend.

In a situation briefing in Pili, Camarines Sur on Nov. 15, Duterte asked the Department of Budget and Management to fast-track the release of calamity funds allotted to communities in regions affected by successive typhoons.

Duterte noted that people have been complaining of delays in receiving assistance, stressing there is a need to “move faster.Philippine News Agency