Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara on Thursday said he is optimistic that his colleagues in the upper chamber will be open to the executive department's suggested amendments to the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or the P140-billion economic stimulus bill pending in Congress.
In a message to GMA News Online, Angara said the major amendments proposed are the inclusion of more provisions intended to help distressed industries and enterprises, as well as to help banks with the issue of non-performing loans.
He said those provisions can be found in other bills approved by the House of Representatives such as the proposed Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act.
"These will probably be the subject of a separate bill from Bayanihan 2 since we have already approved the bill on second reading some weeks back," Angara, chair of the Senate committee on finance, said.
"For other amendments, I’m sure the Senate will be receptive to these during the bicameral conference, after conferring with our counterparts from the House," he added.
The proposed amendments of the executive branch to the Bayanihan 2 have already been routed and are awaiting the comments of other senators, according to Angara.
Asked if the Palace is amenable to the P140 billion budget component of the bill, the principal sponsor said: "That amount was recommended by the DOF [Department of Finance]."
The second Bayanihan measure did not reach the third reading in the Senate last month because the Palace decided not to certify it as urgent before the Congress adjourned sine die.
The version in the lower house proposes P162 billion worth of economic interventions.
Last Tuesday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Angara's committee has just received the proposed amendments of the executive department but there is no word yet about holding a special session.
On Thursday morning, spokesperson Harry Roque said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told him that the Executive branch will ask the Senate and House of Representatives to convene in a special session after the details of the stimulus package have been ironed out. — BM, GMA News