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House Speaker says search is on for sources of funding for Bayanihan III

SPEAKER Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco said economic managers are studying how to fund the proposed third stimulus package designed to revive the economy.

In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Velasco said following a meeting with the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Finance last week that both departments are looking into possible funding sources for the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act, known informally as Bayanihan III.

“I am very thankful to (Finance) Secretary (Carlos G.) Dominguez (III) and (Budget) Secretary (Wendel E.) Avisado for recognizing the importance of Bayanihan III in addressing financial gaps to better manage the government’s response to the impact of the pandemic,” Mr. Velasco said.

Mr. Velasco and Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo filed the measure in February, the bill, if passed, would be the third pandemic law after the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

“We are extremely hopeful for the passage of Bayanihan III, which is a much bigger, well-targeted and proportionate stimulus package that would help struggling Filipinos and revive our pandemic-ravaged economy,” he said, adding that legislators hope to approve the bill at committee level before Congress resumes session on May 17.

The measure is currently pending with the House Committee on Economic Affairs. On Monday, Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said the bill could be approved by the committee this week at the earliest.

The proposed economic stimulus fund will be used to provide assistance to households affected by the lockdown and industries affected severely by the economic downturn. It will also fund procurement of medicine and vaccines for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Mr. Salceda has said the bill is currently at P370 billion, with legislators exploring ways to fund the measure without exceeding the targeted deficit cap. He is proposing amendments to temporarily increase the dividends due from government-owned and -controlled corporations to 75% of their profits from 50%. — Gillian M. Cortez

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