Sotto: No need for 3rd stimulus after extension of Bayanihan II

SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto said he does not see the “necessity” for another stimulus package with the extension of the validity of the second package, known as Bayanihan II, to the end of June.

Mr. Sotto said a sequel to Bayanihan II, known more formally as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Republic Act (RA) 11494, is not being discussed in the chamber.

“Right now, there is no Bayanihan III. We are not discussing it because we extended Bayanihan II,” Mr. Sotto said at an online media forum Wednesday.

Bayanihan III bills that provide up to P485 billion in assistance to hard-hit sectors have been filed in both Houses.

“I don’t think there is a necessity for Bayanihan III,” he added, referring to Senate Bill No. 1953 and House Bill No. 8031, the proposed “Bayanihan to Rebuild as One Act,” which both seek to boost government spending to help the economy recover from the pandemic and the various natural disasters of 2020.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11519, which extends the validity of Bayanihan II until June 30. The law initially expired on Dec. 19, 2020.

Bayanihan II allocated up to P165 billion to various sectors, of which the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has so far released P107.96 billion, as of Dec. 19.

Mr. Sotto said the implementation of the first Bayanihan law, RA 11469, could have been improved if the government had rolled out the national ID system. He said the ID system would have been instrumental in the distribution of the emergency funds.

“The implementation of Bayanihan I, I think was very good. I cannot not say excellent because there was a problem with the Social Amelioration Program (SAP),” he said.

“The reason was the national ID system… di agad tinrabaho noong nakaraang administration hanggang ngayon… naipasa pero hindi na-rollout (it was not worked on by the past administration until now).”

According to DBM data, as of Dec. 19, P386 billion had been released under Bayanihan I. — Charmaine A. Tadalan    

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