Villafuerte: House ready to convene special session to pass ‘Bayanihan 2’
MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte assured Friday that the House of Representative is ready to convene a special session to pass the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Villafuerte, who is the lead author in the House of the proposed Bayanihan 2 bill, underscored the need for the bill which seeks to extend the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that granted Duterte additional powers to address the pandemic.
“We will be ready to hold a special session any day now to pass Bayanihan II, in support of President Duterte’s all-out efforts to beat the Covid-19 pandemic, provide relief to the poor and other sectors reeling from the crisis, and to steer the economy to a quick recovery,” Villafuerte said.
“We in the House will not shirk our responsibility to help our country and our people weather this unprecedented global health emergency—in the same way, that it took us only a day to pass the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” he added.
Villafuerte said that House leaders are in continuous discussions with senators and officials of the executive department on the proposed provisions of Bayanihan 2.
“We need to give continued special powers to the President to beat the pandemic, which, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), has reached a ‘dangerous’ stage of accelerated spread as governments across the world start relaxing mobility restrictions and reopening their economies,” the House leader added.
Villafuerte also expressed hopes that the executive department could raise more funds for the proposed measure, saying that revenue collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have started to pick up this June.
Aside from the proposed Bayanihan 2, Villafuerte is also one of the authors of House Bill No. 6709 or the proposed COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act which sets aside P1.5 trillion over the next three years for accelerated infrastructure spending on the Health, Education, Agriculture, Information Technology and Tourism (HEAL IT) sectors, particularly in the countryside.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the executive branch will call for a special session of Congress for the passage of Bayanihan 2.
Before the House of Representatives adjourned in June, Villafuerte said Bayanihan 2 will provide Filipinos with various forms of relief during the coronavirus pandemic.
These include an emergency subsidy to workers, cash-for-work programs, prevention and control of other diseases, support programs for impacted sectors, and support for the agricultural sector.
However, both the House and the Senate adjourned in June without approving the measure.
But House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier hinted of a possible special session during the 18th Congress’ sine die adjournment to tackle pending bills up for approval.
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