BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Rep. Francisco Benitez, who chairs the Technical Working Group on the Bayanihan 3 bill, hailed its approval by the Committee on Appropriations, that provides a P405.6 billion budget for Filipinos affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our hard work as TWG chairman on Bayanihan 3 stimulus bill is one step closer to fruition,” Benitez said, adding that its approval by the Appropriations committee is a crucial step in the passage of the comprehensive lifeline measure.
Benitez said the bill aims to provide P2,000 to every Filipino as “basic universal income” as well as wage subsidies, unemployment assistance, nutrition for children, support to hog industry, farmers, fisherfolk, medical assistance to indigent patients, laptop and internet allowance for teachers, and moratorium on demolitions.
He added that P30 billion has been earmarked for emergency assistance to affected households, and wage subsidies amounting to P20 billion.
It also provides P25 billion in aid to displaced or disadvantaged workers that would be implemented in three phases by the Department of Labor and Employment.
Other aid packages include P30 billion for the agri-fisheries sector, P10 billion for national nutrition efforts, P5.6 billion to support basic education, P9 billion in medical assistance to indigents, P5 billion in relief to local government units, and P400 million to pay for swab tests of returning seafarers and overseas Filipino workers. Another P54.6 billion is also allotted for the pension and gratuity fund for retired military and uniformed personnel, it added.*