Fri. Jul 30th, 2021

MANILA — Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to submit his first weekly report to Congress on the acts performed by the government under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” within the day.

“So far, wala pa. We’re waiting for it. I’m sure they will submit today, Monday. But we’re waiting for it,” Villafuerte said during a Laging Handa briefing.

Under the newly-signed law granting the President special powers to address the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis, the report shall include the amount and corresponding utilization of the funds used, augmented, reprogrammed, reallocated, and realigned to fund the government’s COVID-19 response.

The law gives Duterte authority to realign the government’s national budget and savings to better respond to the Covid-19 national emergency.

The national government is set to realign some PHP275 billion from the national budget in an effort to fight the pandemic in the country.

Villafuerte noted that the challenge now is to speed up the distribution of financial assistance worth between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 to 18 million low-income households affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine pursuant to the new law.

“May budget for two months. Malapit nang matapos yung one month na enhanced community quarantine so dapat this week, next week, matapos na yan sa buong Pilipinas. Again yung challenge is kung paano madi-distribute sa 18 million households (There is available budget for two months. The one-month enhanced community quarantine will soon be finished so this week, next week, [distribution] must be done across the country. Again, the challenge is how to efficiently distribute it to 18 million households),” Villafuerte said.

According to the new law, poor families will receive a monthly emergency subsidy for two months.

“The subsidy shall be computed based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates,” RA 11469, inked by Duterte on March 24, states.

The law also states that the subsidy received from the current conditional cash transfer program and rice subsidy should be taken into consideration in the computation of the emergency subsidy.

On March 27, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases directed local government units to submit their existing beneficiary database to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to determine those who are qualified to get the emergency subsidy from the government. (PNA)

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