Velasco wants Bayanihan 3 enacted amid looming ECQ for Metro Manila
MANILA, Philippines — The looming imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Metro Manila should be enough reason to pass and enact the Bayanihan 3 bill, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said on Friday.
According to Velasco, House Bill No. 9411 or the Bayanihan to Arise as One bill would provide the much-needed stimulus to assist sectors that would be affected by the lockdown measures.
Earlier, it was announced that President Rodrigo Duterte already approved the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) to put Metro Manila under ECQ from August 6 to 20, due to the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
“The imposition of ECQ in Metro Manila due to the threat of the Delta variant brings to light the urgency of Bayanihan 3, and we appeal to our counterparts in the Senate to pass this measure and to our economic managers to secure funding for this bill. We must strive to find a balance between keeping our citizens safe while ensuring that their essential needs are secured,” Velasco said in a statement.
“Among other socioeconomic measures, the bill provides for the distribution of additional cash subsidy for households in areas placed under the [ECQ]. Around P30 billion is allocated for this proposed cash grant under the Bayanihan 3 bill,” he added.
Congress tried to pass the said bill before the second regular session closed, but it ran out of time to do so.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said after announcing the impending ECQ status over Metro Manila that the provision of aid is highly likely.
The previous Bayanihan laws required the national government to provide aid whenever an area undergoes the ECQ status.
“Most likely, but will seek confirmation,” Roque said.
Velasco said that they understand that the executive department is doing everything it can to manage the pandemic, especially with the presence of the Delta variant.
“We understand that the Executive Department is doing all it can to mitigate the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. We urge everyone to observe health standards and to be extra vigilant so that our health care system will not be overwhelmed,” he explained.
Earlier, the Department of Health reported that the country’s active COVID-19 case shot back to over 60,000, as 8,562 new infections were recorded.
It is not clear whether the stark increase in cases could be attributed to the more infectious COVID-19 Delta variant, but the national government has already decided to put Metro Manila under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to August 20.
Compared to previous weeks, the active case count remained below 60,000 and even went lower than 50,000. Just this Thursday, the active case count was at 56,273, while new cases were at 5,735.
The last time that the country registered over 8,000 cases in a day was last April 26, when Metro Manila was also under a lockdown.
Last Wednesday, analytics group OCTA Research speculated that seven percent of the country’s active patients may already be carrying the Delta variant.
The Delta variant, first seen in India, has been characterized by increased transmissibility, leading to record-breaking surges in the said country during the second quarter of 2021 and the recent surge that Indonesia went through.
The situation in Indonesia has led health experts across the globe to monitor the Southeast Asian country as cases soar higher than previous surges.
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