Senators welcome Bayanihan 2 law; say it ensures gov’t’s COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Saturday welcomed the signing of the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2 into law, as this will ensure the continuity of the government’s response to the ongoing health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The signing into law of Bayanihan 2 will ensure that the government’s response to the health crisis that our country is going through will continue without interruption,” Senator Sonny Angara, who is one of the sponsors of the Bayanihan 2 bill at the Senate, said in a statement.
“This will provide much-needed support to our health sector, which is at the frontline in this battle against COVID-19,” he added. “It will assist sectors that have fallen on their knees due to the lack of economic activity.”
He added that the law “will bridge the gap between now and January 2021 when the new general appropriations act will be enacted.”
Angara also said Congress will continue to “closely monitor” the implementation of the law through its oversight committee.
Bayanihan 2 provides for a stimulus package of P140 billion in regular appropriation and P25 billion as standby funding.
The biggest share of the budget will go to loans for sectors hit by the pandemic such as micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, transport, tourism, and agriculture.
30-day grace period on bills payment
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, in a separate statement, assured consumers that the newly-enacted law provides a 30-day moratorium on the payment of bills.
Gatchalian said that a provision of the law states that payment of bills covering those falling within the period of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will have a 30-day grace period.
Currently, Iligan City, Bacolod City, and Lanao del are under MECQ until Sept. 30.
The senator added that the payment of interests, penalties, and other charges will also be waived during the covered period.
“This provision in the bill will lessen the financial strain of the already overburdened Filipino families living in areas under ECQ or MECQ. For most of them, payment for utility bills eats up a big percentage of their monthly income and this is a relief to those having trouble making payments due to financial difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
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