COVID-19 Crisis: P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3 approved by House panel

In an attempt to boost economic recovery for the nation from the downturn caused by the COVID-19 (China Virus) pandemic, a panel of the House of Representatives approved yesterday the Bayanihan 3 (Bayanihan to Arise as One Act) stimulus package which is worth P405.6 billion.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report. Some parts in bold…

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the substitute bill to the third Bayanihan measure, which would contain direct emergency and social amelioration to Filipinos, livelihood interventions, as well as food security and health interventions.

The bill seeks to provide funding of PHP108 billion for the implementation of a cash subsidy program of PHP1,000 for every Filipino, with another PHP108 billion in standby funds.

Around PHP12 billion shall be appropriated for Phase 1 of assistance for households in crisis situations under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Some PHP12 billion shall be appropriated for Phase 2 and PHP6 billion for Phase 3 of the AICS program.

To assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program shall be continued and expanded with direct funding of PHP8 billion, and stand-by funds worth PHP8 billion for Phase 2 and PHP4 billion for Phase 3.

To provide temporary employment to displaced workers, around PHP10 billion shall be appropriated for the implementation of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD), Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), and Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) Program, while PHP10 billion shall be appropriated as stand-by funds for Phase 2 and PHP5 billion for Phase 3.

Assistance to the agri-fishery sector will receive a total of PHP30 billion worth of standby funds to finance programs and interventions toward food security and farmer income security and welfare.

The bill allocates PHP3 billion for medical assistance for indigent patients, and stand-by funds worth PHP3 billion each for Phases 2 and 3.

A total of PHP54.6 billion shall be allocated to the Pension and Gratuity Fund for retired military and the police, while the amount of PHP5.6 billion shall be appropriated to assist the Department of Education in the implementation of its digital education, information technology, and digital infrastructure and alternative learning modalities as part of the pandemic response and transition to a new normal.

At more than P400 billion proposed, definitely a lot of people (including the owners of struggling MSMEs) as well as government departments will be assisted. While this news is good to hear and read, it still has to be passed first through the lower and upper chambers of Congress before finally reaching the President for approval.

How fast will this proposal get cleared? We will find out soon.

Let me ask you readers – are you a potential beneficiary of the proposed Bayanihan 3 stimulus package? Do you believe that P405.6 billion is good enough to help our nation’s economic recovery? You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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My Observations: Hundreds Flock to COMELEC Satellite Registration for Barangay BF Homes

Today, hundreds of people went to the Satellite Registration processing organized by the Commission on Elections – Parañaque City office (COMELEC-PQUE) at Robinsons Townville (part of Pergola Mall) service of the residents of Barangay BF Homes who want to register themselves as voters as well as local voters who want to adjust their statuses.

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As it turned out, most of the people here waited to get in for the Satellite Registration than for shopping. 

To put things in perspective, no less than Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez confirmed to me that, indeed, the whole day process was requested by him and members of the Barangay Council which the COMELEC-PQUE agreed to. It is important to keep in mind that Barangay BF Homes is still the largest barangay in the city in terms of voters and it is easily the hot spot for mayoral and vice-mayoral candidates to campaign in when it comes to local elections. Barangay BF Homes is part of the city’s 2nd district.

In the morning, there already was a line of people before 8AM just outside the Elsie Gatches entry into Robinsons Supermarket BF Homes. Once opened, they entered and went up to the 2nd floor for the registration. The process was done in five steps: verification of valid IDs, recording/releasing of forms, interview for precinct assignment, capturing of biometrics and the thumb marking process (with the release of claim stub).

The way the situation is right now here in the Philippines, the next national and local elections won’t be held until May 2022. When it comes to the next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan, the next election is currently set for May 2020 although there is an ongoing effort in Congress to have it postponed to May 2023 (a response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s request during his 2019 State of the Nation Address).

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Barangay BF Homes SK chairperson Mariel Tumang assisted a youth applicant. The COMELEC accepted youth applicants aged 15 to 17-years-old and thanks to the BFSK, several youth they invited arrived and applied.

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A COMELEC-PQUE official helped some applicants with regards to filling up forms.

Going back to the Satellite Registration for Barangay BF Homes, COMELEC-PQUE personnel confirmed to me that they will only accept up to five hundred people who apply to get registered formally as voters or, in the case of voters, have their statuses adjusted (including status reactivation for voters who failed to vote in successive elections).

As I noticed today, there were several teenagers who lined up to get registered. This was because the COMELEC-PQUE opened voter registration to youth aged 15 to 17-years-old, plus the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes (BFSK) invited youth from around the community to take advantage of the free service. This was confirmed to me by no less than BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang. I saw Tumang as well as BFSK Kagawads Irene Juanico and Stephanie Sebullen plus other barangay personnel help out.  Free coffee was provided by the office of Parañaque City Councilor Wahoo Sotto.

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Personnel from the office of Parañaque City Councilor Wahoo Sotto set up a coffee machine which provided free coffee to applicants.

There were a few curious shoppers who passed by and asked me what was going on. After I answered the question, they decided to try to get registered.

For more South Metro Manila and BF Homes developments, come back here soon.