Recto bats for more funding for health aspect of ‘Bayanihan 2’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday underscored the need to put as much resources to the health aspect of the COVID-19 response, pointing out that the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2 bill is “trying to accomplish too much with too little.”
“There are too many things at the Bayanihan 2 bill. Palagay ko nagiging chopsuey masyado. We’re trying to achieve too much,” Recto said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel before the second meeting of the members of the bicameral conference committee, consisting of both senators and House lawmakers.
The Bayanihan 2 bill lays out the country’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan and allocates funds to help struggling sectors cope up with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, one of the members of the bicameral conference committee tasked to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the Senate and the House’s version of the Bayanihan 2 measure, said the panel agreed to set the funding for the proposed law at P162 billion.
The Senate had proposed a P140 billion fund for the measure while the House proposed P162 billion.
While Recto supports the provision of assistance to different sectors affected by the pandemic, he said “the most important is our response to the health crisis.”
“Let us give as much resources as we can to the health… to fight the pandemic. Dun tayo magumpisa [Let’s start there],” the senator said.
“We will not be able to open the economy unless we are able to provide confidence to consumers, investors, to our workers, to the general public, and that means getting ahead of the curve against the virus,” he added.
According to Recto, there should be more budget allocated for the hiring of more medical workers.
“We have to increase the number of our frontliners, our health workers. Hire more. We’re going to war. We’ve been at it for five months now. So hire as many as we can, pay them properly, pay them well, make sure we protect them properly,” he said.
“Ensure that we are able to test as many as possible, trace as well and ensure that we have the critical care facilities, Magkano kaya ang gagastusin natin diyan? Palagay ko baka kulang what is allocated right now in Bayanihan (How much will we need? I think what is allocated right now under the Bayanihan 2 is not enough),” he further said.
To date, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 161,253, with 112,586 recoveries and 2,665 deaths.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.