House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco

The country’s economic managers are studying potential funding sources for Bayanihan 3, a proposal seen as a “lifeline” amid the pandemic that continues to batter the economy and hurt the livelihood of millions of Filipinos.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said in a statement released on April 13 that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado have told him in a virtual meeting on April 8 that the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) are in the process of identifying sources of funds in order to move forward Bayanihan 3, which is meant to hasten the country’s economic recovery from the ravage of the health crisis.

“I am very thankful to Secretary Dominguez and Secretary Avisado for recognizing the importance of Bayanihan 3 in addressing financial gaps to better manage the government’s response to the impact of the pandemic,” Velasco told leaders of key political parties and party-list groups in the House of Representatives during a virtual meeting held on April 12.

“Our economic managers see Bayanihan 3 as a lifeline for many Filipinos facing economic hardship during this crisis, and I’m very glad that we are aligned on this,” Velasco added.

Velasco and Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, a noted economist, earlier filed their own version of Bayanihan 3 under House Bill 8628 or the “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act,” which proposes a P420-billion fund to stimulate the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

The measure seeks to allocate P108 billion for additional social amelioration to impacted households, P100 billion for capacity-building for impacted sectors, P52 billion for wage subsidies, P70 billion for capacity-building for agricultural producers, P30 billion for internet allowances to students and teachers, P30 billion for assistance to displaced workers, P25 billion for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines, and P5 billion for the rehabilitation of areas impacted by recent floods and typhoons.

Under the measure, each household member will receive P1,000 regardless of their economic status. On top of this, a P1,000 allowance will be provided to each student and teacher, and P8,000 for every displaced worker.

HB 8628 is pending with the House Committee on Economic Affairs, which created a technical working group to consolidate all Bayanihan 3-related measures.

Velasco said he expects that the Bayanihan 3 will be approved by the committee before the House resumes session on May 17.

“We are extremely hopeful for the passage of Bayanihan 3, which is a much-bigger, well-targeted and proportionate stimulus package that would help struggling Filipinos and revive our pandemic-ravaged economy,” Velasco said.

“A third round of fiscal support is in order to relieve the economic struggle experienced by many Filipinos, particularly those with low incomes, and help businesses stay afloat during the pandemic,” he added.

To date, 224 members from the supermajority, minority and independent blocs in the House have signed either as principal authors or co-authors of Velasco’s Bayanihan 3 bill.