The leadership of the House of Representatives and the economic managers will meet tomorrow to iron out some differences in both the spending side and the revenue side of the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or Bayanihan 3.
In a statement, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, House Ways and Means Committee chair, said Congress would propose to finance the P405.6-billion stimulus package under Bayanihan 3 using new revenue streams.
Salceda said the premise of the proposed revenue sources in the package takes into account that “whatever existing sources there are must have already been used for the regular budget”.
He said financial assistance ranging from P5,000 to P10,000 for every household affected by Covid-19 will be targeted based on the poorest segments of the population.
He added that all Filipinos will receive financial aid as a form of universal basic income that will be given in two tranches of P1,000 each.
“On the P5,000 to P10,000 assistance, this will be targeted, based on the poorest segments of the population. So, this is not universal. But there will be a universal basic income component to ensure nobody falls through the cracks. The P5,000-10,000 is a top-up. But we will have to see what the government can afford,” he said.
He said the government can fund Bayanihan 3 by annuitizing the payment to some number of years, through gaming taxes on Philippine offshore gaming operators and e-sabong, or online cockfighting.
He said the country could learn from the strategy of the USD2.2 trillion infrastructure plan of the Biden administration, in which they plan to pay for it with new revenues and closing tax loopholes, over time.
Under the Bayanihan 3 bill, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas may make additional advances, with or without interest, to the national government of up to 10 percent of the average income of the national government for fiscal years 2018 to 2020 to finance expenditures authorized by law to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mandatory dividend remittances by government-owned and controlled corporations will also be increased from 50 percent to 75 percent, while the President will have the power to withdraw capital from overcapitalized GOCCs.
The bill will provide funding of P108 billion for the implementation of a cash subsidy program of P1,000 for every Filipino and another P108 billion in standby funds.
The bill states that around P12 billion shall be appropriated for Phase 1 of assistance for households in crisis situations under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Some P12 billion in standby funds shall be appropriated for Phase 2, and P6 billion for Phase 3 of the AICS program.
To assist micro, small, and medium enterprises, the Small Business Wage Subsidy program shall be continued and expanded with direct funding of P8 billion, and standby funds worth P8 billion for Phase 2, and P4 billion for Phase 3.*PNA