House, Senate ratification of proposed Bayanihan law 2 expected as bicameral panel adjourns

(Eagle News) — The bicameral panel discussing the proposed Bayanihan law 2 adjourned on Thursday, Aug. 20, with both houses of Congress settling several contentious issues, including a P10-billion assistance for the tourism industry.

Senator Sonny Angara said the panel agreed on a total of P140 billion in funds, with allotments for various government programs to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and on an additional P25 billion standby appropriations.

He said the “help for the tourism industry and stakeholders is intact and preserved,” with ┬ásome of the aid going to the Department of Labor and Employment for distribution to affected tourism workers; to the Small Business Corporation under the Department of Trade and Industry for assistance to tourism stakeholders; and to infrastructure programs.

The senators had wanted the P10 billion to go to “tourism enterprises,” but congressmen, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, wanted it for tourism infrastructure projects.

Earlier, the Senate also adopted a House provision that aims to give each private health worker a P10,000 special risk allowance.

With the panel adjournment, Angara said the Senate hopes to ratify the bill later in the day.

After the bill has been ratified by both houses of Congress, it shall be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval. With a report from Meanne Corvera, Eagle News