FINALLY, it can be told.
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan II, a law that provides ₱165.5 billion fund to sustain the efforts in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery.
It can be recalled that the law was ratified by both the House of Senate and the House of Representatives with a week interval amidst the nation’s battle against the dreaded COVID-19 disease.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, after Sen. Bong Go announced earlier, said that the government believe the Bayanihan II is vital in its efforts to gradually re-open the economy, support businesses and regenerate growth as we make our country sustain the efforts in fighting the disease that affects the world.
The whole amount is composed of stimulus plan consists of ₱140 billion worth of regular appropriations and an additional standby fund of ₱25.5 billion.
The Bayanihan 2 Act requires the President to submit a report to Congress monthly until the end of the year — a departure from the old requirement of a weekly formal report under the first measure or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
In another development, Sen. Sonny Angara, in a previous interview after both houses ratified the measure said that there would be a 60-day grace period for the payment of loans in the country once the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 becomes a law
This was confirmed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which said that it has drafted the implementing rules of the 60-day moratorium on loans as President Duterte last week was expected to sign the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) which he signed on the weekend.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said public and private financial institutions are covered under the non-extendible 60-day loan moratorium of Bayanihan 2 and added that there is no interest on interest, no penalties, no fees and other charges.
Diokno further added that among the institutions covered are GSIS, SSS, Pag-IBIG, quasi-banks, non-stock savings, loan associations, pawn shops, cooperatives, financing companies, lending companies, real estate developers, insurance companies providing life insurance policies, pre-need companies, entities providing in-house financing for goods and properties purchases, assets and liabilities management companies.
He concluded that the 60-day moratorium on loans is expected to take effect 15 days after publication of the law which commenced last Saturday, September 12.
This Corner hopes that the said support and recovery fund will benefit specially the sectors that are severely affected by the crippling effects of the disease where the previous similar effect happened about a century ago.