Angara: Benefits for health frontliners, other provisions to continue even after B2 extension expiry

Posted on: Thu, 07/08/2021 - 20:27 By: admin

The law extending the availability of appropriations under Bayanihan 2 has expired but many of its provisions will continue while the state of national emergency declared by President Duterte remains in place, Senator Sonny Angara said today.

Republic Act 11519 or the law extending the availability of Bayanihan 2 funds expired on June 30, 2021 and along with it were most of the funds appropriated for various purposes.

As the sponsor of both Bayanihan 2 and RA 11519, Angara said there are specific provisions that will remain in effect including the benefits being given to the health workers.

These include the compensation for those who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty; the grant of special risk allowance; actual hazard duty pay for those serving in the front lines; medical expense coverage in case of exposure to COVID or work-related injury or disease; and the provision of life insurance, accommodation, transportation, and meals.

“One of the key features of Bayanihan 2 is the benefits provided to our heroic health workers who continuously put their lives at risk in order to save lives. It was the clear intent of Congress that the grant of these benefits should not cease even after Bayanihan 2 and the law extending the availability of B2 funding expires,” Angara said.

“The battle against COVID-19 and its variants does not end with the expiry of these laws so we must continue to provide support to our health workers at least until the state of national emergency is lifted by the President,” added Angara who is chairman of the Committee on Finance.

Under Bayanihan 2, public and private health workers who contract COVID-19 while in the line of duty are compensated as follows: P15,000 in case of sickness for a mild or moderate case; P100,000 for severe and critical cases; and P1 million in case of death.

Apart from the benefits to health workers, the provision of financial relief to agrarian reform beneficiaries will also continue. 

Bayanihan 2 provides that the payment of interest, penalties, and surcharges of loans used for land acquisition to any and all government agencies and government owned or controlled corporations shall be condoned and the remaining original principal value will be restructured without interest.

For flagship infrastructure projects, the waiver on all permits and licenses, including local government permits, licenses, clearances and registration requirements will continue until the middle of September 2021.

In the case of private projects that are either nationally significant, with high economic returns or high employment potential, the waiver on permits, licenses, certificates, clearances, consents, authorizations or resolutions by national government agencies, except those relating to taxes, duties, border control and environmental laws and regulations may be enjoyed during the state of national emergency and the economic rehabilitation period or until the last day of June 2022, whichever is later.

To promote business continuity and capacity building, an exemption from compulsory notification of mergers and acquisitions with transaction values below P50 billion will be granted if these are entered into within a period of two years from the effectivity of Bayanihan 2. The exemption from the Philippine Competition Commission’s review of such mergers and acquisitions will also be in place until the middle of September 2021.

There will be no phase-out of any modality of public utility vehicle while the transport industry is transitioning to a new normal.

The net operating loss of businesses or enterprises for taxable years 2020 and 2021 shall be carried over as a deduction from gross income for the next five consecutive taxable years immediately following the year of such loss.

The COVID-19 National Referral System, jointly developed by the Philippine Red Cross and DOH, will remain to provide patients a fast and efficient way to locate and avail of the services of hospitals, clinics, isolation centers, other health facilities, blood banks, convalescent plasma facilities and ambulance systems.

Other provisions under B2 that will continue after June 30 are as follows:

•    Lifting of the 30% cap on the quick response fund

•    Additional direct provisional advances, with or without interest, by the BSP to the NG, which shall be availed of within two years from the effectivity of B2

•    Encourage the BSP and SEC to adopt measures, including relaxation of regulatory and statutory restrictions and requirements, for a period not exceeding one year from the effectivity of B2

•    Prohibition on private schools, colleges and universities receiving grants from retrenching their employees for a period of nine months from receipt of grant

•    Repeal of Sec. 127(B) of the NIRC, i.e. Tax on Sale, Barter or Exchange of Shares of Stock Listed and Traded through Initial Public Offering