Bayanihan To Recover As One: What’s In It For You?

Bayanihan To Recover As One: What’s In It For You?

On September 11, 2020 President Duterte signed the “Bayanihan to Recover as One” or Bayanihan 2 law. The law grants special powers to Duterte in response to the Covid-19 crisis until December 19. 

This was signed into law during the government declaration of lockdown as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak but it has already lapsed by June 2020. The previous “Bayanihan to Heal as One” or Bayanihan 1 had granted special powers to Duterte but this ended on June 5. 

This law had prepared a ₱165 billion response fund to the Covid-19 pandemic. The budget will be used for measures to protect health workers, aid the educational system and help alleviate the economic situation of the country.

This second round of economic stimulus under Bayanihan 2 is aimed at keeping the economy going. So what’s in it for you? Here’s a quick run down of the key benefits.

Economic Recovery

The pandemic has gravely affected workers, business owners, individuals, and families, economically. To aid in the recovery, Bayanihan 2 has allotted a budget to specifically help keep the economy going.

What this law will provide:

  • ₱13 billion for unemployment or involuntary separation assistance for the self-employed, displaced workers, freelancers, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the government deployment ban.
  • ₱39.5 billion to government financial institutions (GFIs) which is as follows: 
    • ₱6 billion to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to infuse low-interest loans for laborers and businesses owners affected by the crisis
    • ₱5 billion for the credit guarantee program
    • ₱10 billion to provide assistance to Restart Enterprises or CARES program of the trade department’s Small Business Corporation (SBC)
    • ₱6 billion to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism industry hard-hit by the pandemic
    • ₱18.4 billion to the Land Bank of the Philippines to aid low-interest loans
  • ₱24 billion to subsidize direct cash or loan interest rates to help our local farmers, fisherfolks, as well as agri-fishery enterprises and cooperatives. This will also sponsor the Plant, Plant, Plant program of the Department of Agriculture.
  • ₱9.5 billion will be allocated to the Department of Transportation, to fund the following: 
    • ₱1.3 billion to create side walk and bicycle lane projects as well as a sharing and lending project for bicycles
    • ₱2.6 billion to fund transport businesses that are hard hit by the pandemic
    • ₱5.6 billion to fund a livelihood program for displaced public utility vehicle drivers
  • ₱6 billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to provide food and livelihood assistance grants to families affected by the community lockdown.
  • The tourism industry, another facet of the economy hard-hit by the pandemic will get ₱4 billion:
    • ₱100 million to fund training and subsidize costs for tourist guides
    • ₱1 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways for a tourism infrastructure project
    • ₱3 billion assistance to the Department of Labor and Employment to assist displaced workers in the tourism industry
  • ₱6 billion will be given to aid loans for MSMEs in the tourism industry through the Small Business Corporation.

1. Cash assistance

Under the Bayanihan 2, further cash or non-cash (goods) will still be provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to individuals who are under the Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, and those who have no livelihood.

2. Rent payments

This is one of the measures proposed to help Filipinos with their monthly bills amid the lockdowns, which affected their income and livelihood. 

According to Bayanihan 2, rent payments will be governed by the following conditions moving forward:

  • A 30-day grace period for rent payments starting from the date of the quarantine lifting.
  • Increases for rent payments within the course of the community quarantine are not allowed under Bayanihan 2. 
  • Rental payments after the community quarantine may be paid on a staggered basis until December 31, 2020.

3. Utility bills

Residents that have water, electricity, telecommunication, and other similar utilities will be entitled to some mandatory due date extensions. Just like the first Bayanihan act, it aims to soften the blow of the lockdowns to the finances of every Filipino.

The following provisions are mandatory to all utility bills provider:

  • A minimum of 30 days grace period starting from the due date until the end of the community quarantine. 
  • The total bill payment shall not incur any additional charges, interest, or penalties within the grace period. 
  • The total payment may also be paid on an installment basis over the course of 3 months after the grace period. 

4. Business loan payment

Under Bayanihan 2, loan payments for businesses placed under quarantine will still be extended. The extended period of time or the maturity date of the loan will be the number of days of the community quarantine which is different from the expressed provision in Bayanihan 1 which is a mandatory 30-day period.

5. Loans to MSMEs and other industries

Bayanihan 2 tasks the SBC alongside the Land Bank of the Philippines to allocate a fund of ₱30 billion for low-interest loans to industries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, including MSMEs, air, land, and sea transportation, retail trade, accommodation, and tourism services.

The SBC along with the Land Bank of the Philippines is tasked under Bayanihan 2 to allocate a ₱30 billion fund for MSMES, transporation services, accomodation and tourism services, and retail trade that are hard-hit by the pandemic. The said fund will be allocated in the provision of low-interest loans to help these industries recover in the new normal. 

Public Health

The first phase, Bayanihan to Heal as One, had provided medical frontliners with personal protective equipment, accommodations, and risk allowances, among other benefits, as well as recruiting more of their colleagues to help them in their daily duties. 

Bayanihan 2, on the other hand, will concentrate on primary care and the improvement of the health system and its attendant benefits. According to the Department of Health (DOH), 53.48 billion had been set aside to support and protect healthcare workers, as well as prevent the spread of the disease. 

While the first act focused on funding for frontliner’s risk allowances, recruitment of more workers, PPEs, and accommodations, Bayanihan 2 will focus on the overall improvement of the healthcare system and its attendant benefits. 

What this law will provide for the healthcare:

  • ₱4.5 billion for the expansion of public and field hospitals, and front liner’s dormitories inside 12 coronavirus referral hospitals
  • ₱2 billion for healthcare worker’s accommodation, food, and transportation 
  • ₱0.27 billion covering expenses of healthcare worker who get infected with COVID-19 on duty*

*A healthcare worker infected for mild or moderate cases will be given ₱15,000, ₱100,000 for severe to critical cases, and ₱1 M in the event that a healthcare worker dies due to the illness.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosaro Singh-Vergeire, “Bayanihan 2 takes the next steps forward in consolidating that healing through recovery, which is made possible by strengthening our health system structures while heeding the call of our HCWs for assistance and provisions.” 

Contact tracing, Data Gathering and Data Analysis

Contact tracing, research, and analysis are important measures to further prevent the spread of the pandemic. 

What this law will provide:

  • ₱5 billion for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to hire a minimum of 50,000 contact tracers
  • ₱10 million for research and evidence generation on Covid-19 pandemic 
  • ₱15 Million to build a computer research laboratory at the University of the Philippines Diliman Institute of Mathematics, to perform analysis of data gathered on the pandemic. 

Education in the “New Normal”

“Blended learning” has become the new norm for education where educators and students have moved to an online platform for learning. Considered as the most efficient and safest option to continue education, online education has also required huge adjustments for the country’s education system.

For the education sector, the Bayanihan 2 has on the following:

  • ₱4 billion will be allotted to finance the Department of Education’s (DEPED) alternative and digital learning program, including the delivery and printing of self-learning modules. 
  • ₱3 billion will be used to develop smart campuses for colleges and state universities through investing in their ICT capabilities. An amount of ₱600 million is allotted to give subsidies and allowances for students of public and private schools who are qualified for the assistance as well as for part-time faculty members of universities.
  • Study allowance and subsidies of ₱300 million for displaced teaching and non-teaching staff including part-time faculty members, in all schools and all levels. Displaced laborers in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s programs will also be given subsidies and allowances through a ₱1 billion budget allotment.

The pandemic has severely affected individuals, families, and institutions alike. As Filipinos, we are known to be resilient in times of crisis. The Bayanihan II law is built from the success of Bayanihan I, as well as from its lapses and miscalculations. In the Bayanihan we Recover as One Law, the government aims to provide lasting efforts that may help us recover as one in the aspects of health, education, and finance.

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