RESIDENTS of areas placed under granular lockdown will receive cash assistance from the government under the newly signed Bayanihan 2 Act, Malacañang said Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.

An emergency subsidy of P5,000 to P8,000 per family will be taken from the P6 billion allotted for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under Republic Act 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

“Magbibigay po tayo ng P5,000 to P8,000 na ayuda, do’n sa mga mamamayan na mapapasaloob po ng granular lockdown na idedeklara ng mga lokal na pamahalan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in his virtual press conference Monday.

Cebu City and the entire Cebu province are under modified general community quarantine, the least restrictive quarantine classification, but a local government unit (LGU) may place a sitio, barangay or household under granular lockdown to prevent further transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) with concurrence by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The Bayanihan 2 law, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Sept. 11, 2020, provides funds for the government’s Covid-19 response, including a P13.5 billion fund for the Department of Health (DOH) and a special risk allowance for private and public healthcare workers who had direct contact with Covid-19 patients.

This allowance, which will be on top of their hazard pay, will be given for every month that they were on active duty while the state of national emergency is in effect.

Aside from the special risk allowance, the new law will also provide life insurance, temporary housing, transportation, and food to all public and private health workers while the state of national emergency is in effect, regardless of quarantine status.

Like Bayanihan 1, the new law will also provide tax-free compensation for healthcare workers who contract or die from Covid-19, this time including those who manifest mild symptoms. Government hospitals under the DOH will also continue to receive augmentation of their operations.

The compensation for healthcare workers who contract the virus is as follows: P15,000 for mild or moderate cases; P100,000 for severe or critical; and P1 million in case of death, all retroactive to February 1, 2020;

New sectors covered

Bayanihan 2 also provides cash assistance for sectors not covered by the Bayanihan 1 law such as the public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers, tourist guides, students, teaching and non-teaching personnel, and athletes and coaches, as follows:
  • P3 billion cash assistance for PUJ drivers to be taken from the P9.5 billion allocation for the Department of Transportation;
  • P600 million as subsidies and allowances for students severely impacted by the pandemic;
  • P300 million as subsidies and allowances to teaching and non-teaching personnel, and part-time faculty in state universities and colleges (SUCs);
  • P180 million as allowance for national athletes and coaches; and
  • P100 million for tourist guides training and subsidies.
  • Other salient features of Bayanihan 2 are the following:
  • P3 billion for the procurement of face masks, PPEs, shoe covers, and face shields for public and private Covid-19 referral hospitals, both national and local, for barangays, and indigent persons;
  • P4.5 billion for the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories for frontliners, and for the expansion of government hospital capacity;
  • P13 billion for the government’s cash-for-work program and other support programs for impacted sectors;
  • P39.472 billion as capital infusion to government banks;
  • P24 billion as assistance to the agricultural sector and the Plant, Plant, Plant initiative under the Department of Agriculture (DA);
  • P3 billion for the development of smart campuses across the country;
  • P1 billion for Tesda scholarships;
  • P4 billion for the DepEd’s implementation of digital education;
  • P820 million as repatriation fund for overseas Filipinos under the Department of Foreign Affairs;
  • P4 billion for the tourism industry;
  • P10 million for the research fund of the Health Technology Assessment Council, which was created under the UHC Law;
  • P15 million for UP Diliman’s Computational Research Lab; and
  • P10 billion for testing and procurement of anti-Covid medication and vaccine.

Utility bills

The new law also includes the “three-gives” payment scheme for electric, water, telecommunications and other utility bills, according to Senator Francis Tolentino.

The law directs “all institutions providing electric, water, telecommunications, and other similar utilities to implement a minimum of 30-day grace period for the payment of utilities falling due within the period of ECQ or MECQ without incurring interests, penalties, and other charges.”

After the grace period, the bills may be paid in three monthly installments without interests, penalties, and other charges.

The new law also provides a “minimum of 30-day grace period on residential rents and commercial rents of lessees not permitted to work, and MSMEs ordered to temporarily cease operations, falling due within the period of the CQ, without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges.”

These payables may be paid in monthly installments until December 31, 2020 without any interests, penalties and other charges.

The 30-day grace period will start from the date of the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine or modified enhanced community quarantine. (SunStar Philippines)