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Twin bills on COVID-19 response certified urgent

Martin Romualdez
JCI ZOOM CONVENTION --- House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez delivers his message to the new officers of the Junior Chamber International led by Its new National President Jude Acidre and thousands of regional officers and members from Luzon Visayas and Mindanao who joined the programs in Virtual via Zoom, during the oath taking of the 2021 new JCI officers Sunday night at Takara Hotel in San Pedro City Laguna.Romualdez who assured full support to the leadership of Acidre said that the country needs a young and active citizens of the JCI Philippines to end poverty and also fight inequality and justice. photo by Ver Noveno

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday certified as urgent the two measures that provide the needed response of the government to the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The House of Representatives received a letter from Malacanang requesting Congress to expedite the passage of House Bill 6656 or An Act Extending the Availability of the 2020 Appropriations to December 31, 2021 and House Bill 8063 or An Act Extending the Effectivity of Republic Act No. 11494 otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

The two important bills will be approved anytime this week, Speaker Lord Allan Velsco said, and will be signed into law before the year ends.

Under House Bill 6656, the government is authorized to utilize the 2020 national budget until the end of 2021 in order to bolster efforts to further resuscitate the economy that has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress will go on Christmas break starting December 19.

One of the authors, ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said that the bill is vital in ensuring the success of government’s efforts to help the economy regain its pre-COVID form.

HB 6656 will amend the general provisions of Republic Act 11456 or the 2020 General Appropriations Act by extending its validity for an additional year, instead of the original December 31, 2020.

Section 60 of the 2020 GAA will be amended to extend the effectivity of this provision until Dec 31, 2021.

“To support the economic stimulus efforts of the govt, infrastructure projects funded under the FY 2020 GAA that have been subjected to the procurement process shall be issued corresponding special allotment release orders by the Department of Budget and Management subject to budgeting, accounting,” read the proposed amendment.

Meanwhile, the House sees the importance of extending the validity of Bayanihan 2 in order for the government to ensure and complete the implementation of the recovery program.

Economic growth slowed down due to the pandemic and health problems caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Auhtors of this measure are Speaker Velasco, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Yap among others.

Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan 2 is only effective until December 19, 2020.

The House leaders are proposing its extension until June 30, 2021.

In his explanatory note, Speaker Velasco said the funding would be used to cushion the continuing effects of COVID-19 as well as strengthen efforts at gradually reopening the Philippine economy.

“By extending the validity, the President will be able to continuously sustain and further the capacity of the government in supporting the Filipino people rise above the adversity brought about by the pandemic,” he said.

The extension will ensure consistent and efficient delivery of assistance to the Filipino people and help aid economic recovery.

The bill also prescribes the extension applicability to Local Government Units (LGUs) and Government Financial institutions (GFIs) to allow the completion of disbursements intended for COVID-19 response and recovery interventions.