The long wait is over. President Duterte finally signed Bayanihan 2 (Bayanihan to Recover as One Act) into law on September 11. With this new law, P165.5 billion will be used to strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic, including a P25.5 billion standby fund. Here is how the money is being allocated.
A huge part of the Bayanihan 2 funds (P39.472 billion) will go to the capital infusion for government financial institutions. The agriculture sector will get around P24 billion, while P13.5 billion will be used for health-related responses, including the retroactive payment of the P100,000 hazard duty pay for health workers effective February 2020, continuous employment of existing emergency health personnel, augmentation of operations for DOH hospitals, and risk allowances for health workers attending to Covid-19 patients.
P13 billion will be used to implement a cash-for-work program and other support programs, and P9.5 billion was earmarked for the transportation sector. Like the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the new law provides for an emergency subsidy of P5,000 to P8,000 for affected low-income households in areas under lockdown and those households with recently returned overseas Filipino workers.
At least P6 billion will go to Department of Social Welfare and Development programs, P4 billion for the Department of Education’s alternative learning program, and P4.10 billion will go to our tourism industry. Another P5 billion will be spent for the hiring of contact tracers, P4.5 billion for the construction of quarantine and isolation facilities, dormitories for frontliners, and the expansion of government hospital capacity, and P3 billion will be used to procure face masks, personal protective equipment, and face shields.
Around P4.5 billion has been set aside for the construction and maintenance of isolation facilities, including billing of hotels, food and transportation under the government’s Covid response program. P3 billion will be used to assist state universities and colleges in the development of smart campuses, P1 billion is being set aside as scholarship fund of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and P600 million will be forwarded as subsidies and allowances for qualified students in both public and private elementary schools, high schools, and colleges, whose families were affected by work stoppage due to the lockdowns. P300 million will be spent as subsidies and allowances of displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel (including a one-time cash aid for them), and P100 million has been earmarked for the training and subsidies of tourist guides.
At least P2 billion will be used to subsidize payment of interest on local government unit loans from Land Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines, P1.5 billion will be used to assist the LGUs, P820 million will go to affected overseas Filipino workers, and P180 million will serve as allowance of national athletes and coaches. P15 million will be used to establish a research facility in UP Diliman, P10 million was set aside to carry out Covid-19 research, and P2.5 million will enable the Professional Regulatory Commission to facilitate computer-based licensure exams.