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HOUSE LEADERS SIGN MANIFESTO, REAFFIRM SUPPORT TO GOV’T COVID-19 RESPONSE

Leaders of political parties and party-list organizations in the House of Representatives have signed a manifesto reaffirming their support to the government’s response efforts to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The House leaders also guaranteed the immediate passage of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which has been approved on second reading recently.

The proposal, which provides for the country’s COVID-19 response and recovery interventions, is one of the legislative priorities of President Rodrigo Duterte enumerated in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

“We join the Filipino nation in solidarity as we continue our collective action to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the country.”

“We, the leaders of political parties and party-list organizations in the House of Representatives, join the Filipino nation in solidarity as we continue our collective action to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the country, with the hope to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on people’s lives,” they said in the manifesto.

“Heeding to the President’s call, we now declare our commitment to unify our respective political parties and party-list organizations in order for the House of Representatives to pass the Bayanihan 2 bill at the soonest possible time,” they added.

The bill proposes a P162-billion standby fund to support response measures to fight COVID-19.

Under the measure, P10 billion shall be appropriated as a subsidy to the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to be used solely to cover COVID-19 expanded testing and COVID-19 confinements.

A total of P10.5 billion shall be allocated to the Department of Health for continuous employment of emergency human resources for health, risk allowances for both public and private health care workers (HCWs), free life insurance for all HCWs, HCW compensation for death and critical illness, and augmentation for hospital operations.

The measure also provides for the allocation of P20 billion for the implementation of appropriate cash-for-work programs for displaced workers amid the pandemic.

A total of P12 billion shall be used to finance the programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, including the emergency subsidy for areas placed on hard lockdown and the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program, among others.

A total of P51 billion will be given to government financial institutions (GFIs) as a capital infusion for the grant of low-interest loans to micro, small and medium enterprises and other critically-impacted businesses.

“As we affix our signatures in this manifesto, we also reaffirm our support to President Duterte.”

“As we affix our signatures in this manifesto, we also reaffirm our support to President Duterte and commit ourselves to assist him in navigating our people out of the public health crisis engulfing the nation,” the House leaders said.

“Under President Duterte’s leadership, and with the people’s overwhelming support to all his undertakings, we trust that we shall overcome this crisis and stand stronger as a nation,” they added.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speakers Paolo Duterte and LRay Villafuerte have signed the document.

Also, signatories of the manifesto are leaders from different political parties, including Rep. Elipidio Barzaga Jr. of National Unity Party, Rep. Wilter Wee Palma of Lakas-CMD, Rep. Edgar Erice of Liberal Party, Rep. Weslie Gatchalian of Nationalist People’s Coalition, Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. of PDP-Laban, Rep. Raneo Abu of Nacionalista Party, and Rep. Sharon Garin of Party-list Coalition.

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