The Philippines: House approves Bayanihan II

  • THE House of Representatives gave final approval for the PHP162bn-fiscal stimulus measure, which includes providing much-needed financial aid for sectors hardest hit by the pandemic on 11 Aug 20.
  • The bill prioritizes support for the healthcare sector, small businesses, low-income households and unemployed individuals, including displaced overseas Filipino workers.
  • The measure will also continue to grant the PHP5,000-PHP8,000 subsidy for low-income households in areas under enhanced community quarantine.
  • Around PHP20bn will be used to continue cash-for-work programs for displaced workers, and another PHP20bn for the agriculture sector.
  • A total of PHP50bn will also be provided as capital infusion to government financial institutions, which will support state-owned banks as well as fund credit guarantee program and lending programs to MSMEs.
  • The PHP162bn allotted under the House version is higher than the PHP145bn standby fund under Senate Bill No. 1564. Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said he is in favor of increasing the funding, provided the government has resources.
  • Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III earlier said the government is ready to spend PHP140bn for an economic stimulus plan in 2020, saying this would “keep our fiscal deficit in a manageable zone.”
  • Mr. Sotto noted the Bicameral Conference Committee that will reconcile the two versions may convene any time this week.

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