Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. presented President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s first report to Congress regarding the implementation of Republic Act 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.
In a press briefing in Malacañan on October 6, Secretary Roque said that the Chief Executive once again thanked Congress for the passage of law which will sustain what has been done already and strengthen the government’s capacity to implement programs and projects.
Quoting the President’s report, Roque said that Bayanihan 2 will “reduce the adverse impact of COVID-19, enhance the capacity of the Philippine health care system to control and eliminate COVID-19, accelerate the recovery and bolster the resilience of the economy, and enhance fiscal and monetary policies to sustain COVID-19 measures.”
Among the points mentioned in the said report include the coordination between the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office in regional offices and the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the regional mechanisms of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to identify areas that were certified under granular lockdown for the proper targeting of low-income family beneficiaries.
The first Bayanihan 2 report to Congress also underscored the recent efforts of the Department of Health particularly the hiring of some 8,980 additional human resources for priority health programs from September 11 to 30. Moreover, some 10,673 nurses have been deployed in primary care facilities to support hospital-based and community-based COVID-19 responses, while there were 4,276 deployed other human resources for health as part of the government’s COVID-19 response.
“Ini-report din po ng DOH na, as of September 30, 2020, mayroon na tayong 17 bilateral partners para sa clinical trials. Nagpahayag din ang Pilipinas na interesado itong sumali sa WHO Solidarity Trials for vaccines at COVAX facility,” noted Secretary Roque.
To hasten economic recovery, the National Economic and Development Authority approved on August 19, 2020 the revised list of infrastructure flagship projects under the Build Build Build Program. The President also reported that as of September 30, a total of P18.058-Billion of the total Bayanihan grants have been released to local government units. Meanwhile, the Department of Finance has secured USD 9.91-Billion in loans and grants for the fight against COVID-19, as of October 2, 2020.
Sec. Roque, in the same briefing, said that the Inter-Agency Task Force endorsed to the House Representatives Committee on Transportation the request of Metro Manila local chief executives for the Department of Transportation to continue the pilot study of motorcycle taxis, pending the enactment of appropriate legislation.
Also, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones discussed the status of enrollment, reporting that the target enrollment figure of 22.2 million was exceeded with 24.7 million enrollees for this year, despite the current pandemic. Secretary Briones said that for public schools, more than 99 percent of last year’s enrollment figures was met, while private schools achieved only 50 percent enrollment.
The Education Secretary attributed the drop in enrollment in private schools to the economic impact of COVID-19. Sec. Briones added that enrollment in public schools will continue until November this year to accommodate as many learners as possible. On the problems reported with regard to the blended learning modality, Briones said that the DepEd is aware of these problems and is dealing with it as they occur on a day-to-day basis.
Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar addressed the issue on the drop in the price of palay in the provinces, which he said is between P18-19 in major rice-producing provinces. Secretary Dar said that he asked rice importers to not import rice during this year’s major harvest season, which is October and November. He also appealed to traders to not take advantage of the pandemic so that the farmers will not be on the losing side, and encouraged everyone to practice patriotism to help the disadvantaged, especially the rice farmers.
Sec. Dar said that the additional funding for the DA in the Bayanihan 2 will be used to complement the regular programs of the DA particularly to increase harvest, to support income-enhancing projects, and for the social protection of farmers and fisherfolk. ### OPS-PCOO