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‘Targeted’gov’t cash aid included in Bayanihan 2 — Angara

The Social Amelioration Program (SAP) or cash aid amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 is still included in the reconciled version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, according to Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday.

In an online interview with reporters, Angara said it will be limited to those under extended "hard lockdowns" and to households with recently-returned OFWs.

Critically impacted sectors which previously did not receive aid under the first Bayanihan law shall also be given cash aid.

"'Yung mga creative sectors, part-time teachers ng schools, so sila ang bibigyan ng priority diyan pero hindi across the board entitlement ito," Angara said.

"The emphasis is on 'yung mga hindi nakatanggap, 'yung mga retrenched OFWs, returning OFWs. Medyo mas targeted siya ngayon," he added.

The senator has yet to release the final figure intended for the SAP.

There will also be a P13 billion assistance for displaced workers under the Bayanihan 2.

A 60-day moratorium period for the payment of all loans, irrespective if there is community quarantine or not, will be implemented.

On the other hand, payments of residential rents and utility bills falling due within the period of ECQ or Modified ECQ shall also be covered by a 30-day grace period.

The bill also earmarks a P4.5 billion budget for the establishment of more COVID-19 isolation facilities in the country, and dorms for frontliners. Another P5 billion will be for contact tracing.

It likewise requires the Department of Health to increase the bed capacity for COVID-19 patients by around 20% to 30%, Angara said.

A P3 billion budget was allocated for the procurement of personal protective equipment. The bill also provides for a P10 billion standby fund for COVID-19 vaccines and for testing.

Assistance to the heavily bogged down transportation and tourism sectors were also included, with P9.5 billion and P10 billion funding, respectively.

The bill also earmarks P8.9 billion as additional funds for the education sector.

Once passed into law, Bayanihan 2 will be effective until December 19, 2020 since it is considered an "emergency bill."

The Office of the President will be required to submit a monthly report to Congress regarding the actions taken pursuant to the bill.

"Hindi na every Monday, monthly na lang 'yung report pero idinagdag natin ang COA. That's the request of the executive. They want to show also that they're going to be transparent in the usage of the funds," Angara said.

"Hindi lang sa Congress ang oversight committee as in Bayanihan 1 inexpand pa yung reportorial requirements even to the Commission on Audit they must report," he added.

The Senate is expected to ratify the reconciled version of the bill within the day. — RSJ, GMA News