MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday thanked the members of the congressional bicameral conference committee for approving the final version of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

“Nagagalak po kami na napakabilis po ng pagpasa ng Bayanihan 2 (We are happy with the fast approval of Bayanihan 2),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing. “We are thankful for the cooperation extended by both houses of Congress.”

This, after Senator Juan Edgardo Angara announced that the bicameral conference committee approved the reconciled version of Bayanihan 2 which intends to stimulate the Philippine economy amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Angara said the approved version of Bayanihan 2 seeks to allot a budget of PHP140 billion for several programs of the government to help affected sectors recover from the crisis driven by the pandemic.

The bicameral conference panel, Angara noted, also agreed to approve an additional standby fund worth PHP25 billion.

The proposed Bayanihan 2 is expected to be ratified within the day.

Roque said the Palace expects that the proposed Bayanihan 2 is similar to the proposed measure the executive branch is pushing.

“I think they were faithful naman po sa request ng PalasyoHindi naman po nagkakalayo (I think they were faithful to the request of the Palace. It’s not that different from the proposed law that the Palace wants),” he said.

The proposed Bayanihan 2 is seen to replace Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which already expired on June 25.

The first Bayanihan law earlier gave President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the special powers granted to Duterte under the now-expired RA 11469 is the granting of cash subsidies ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to poor households affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

The government is now distributing the second tranche of financial aid under the social amelioration program (SAP).

Roque reminded SAP recipients that PHP50 is deducted from their subsidies by identified financial service providers (FSPs) that have partnered with the national government.

“So alam po yung PHP50 pero dapat po may resibo (The PHP50 processing fee is acknowledged but there should be a receipt),” he said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the lead agency tasked to oversee the SAP implementation, earlier announced that its partner-FSPs are charging PHP50 for SAP beneficiaries’ over-the-counter cash outs.

The six FSPs tapped by DSWD for the digital payment of the second tranche of SAP aid is GCash, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Robinsons Bank, Paymaya, Unionbank, and Starpay. (PNA)