The Philippines: No special session to extend Bayanihan 2: Palace

  • Malacañang sees no need for a special Congress session to extend the validity of Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), which expires on 30 Jun 21, because the remaining PHP9bn fund will likely be obligated for the government’s ongoing campaign against COVID-19.
  • Congress’ adjournment is until 25 Jul 21.
  • Otherwise, Roque assured the public that any unobligated funds will be returned to the national treasury.
  • Roque said the first PHP9bn has been released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to cover the special risk allowance (SRA) for health workers directly involved in dealing with COVID patients.
  • Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the SRA of workers was released through an administrative order from the Office of the President last 1 Jun 21, followed by another joint circular from DBM and the Department of Health (DOH) on 25 Jun 21.
  • About PHP7bn was released to hospitals under local government units (LGUs) and the remaining P2 billion was allocated to hospitals under the DOH.
  • On 29 Jun 21, House leaders appealed to President Duterte to call for a special session of Congress to extend the validity of the Bayanihan 2 law, citing billions in unutilized funds.
  • Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez and ways and means committee chairman Joey Salceda made the appeal to prevent unused funds under the law from being returned to the national treasury.
  • Reports said that more than PHP18bn of the PHP165bn appropriated by Congress under Bayanihan 2 still had to be disbursed.
  • But presidential spokesman Harry Roque clarified that only PHP18.4bn or 13% of the Bayanihan 2 funds “has not been obligated.”

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