Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
(a) Following the World Health Organization (WHO) or the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and best practices, adoption and implementation of measures to prevent or suppress further transmission and spread of COVID-19 through effective education, detection, protection, and treatment: Provided, That the percentage of the population that will undergo COVID-19 testing shall be in accordance with WHO standards and global benchmarks, in areas identified by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as epicenters of COVID-19 infections and in other areas where higher possibility of transmission of COVID-19 may occur or have occurred. The DOH and DILG shall adopt a COVID-19 disease surveillance protocol that shall define minimum health standards for workplaces and business activities which shall include COVID-19 testing and the establishment of a contact tracing system including personal contact tracing whereby a person maintains a record of the places that he/she had been to and the people he/she had contact with: Provided, That any individual who tested positive for COVID-19 through laboratory confirmation at the national reference laboratory, sub-national reference laboratory, or a DOH-certified laboratory testing facility shall be automatically treated and if necessary, isolated in a DOH-accredited quarantine and isolation facility: Provided, further, That the IATF-EID shall identify and prioritize the areas and business activities critically impacted and severely affected by COVID-19 and with high probability of COVID-19 transmission, and coordinate with the relevant LGUs and government agencies for the implementation of the COVID-19 surveillance protocol: Provided, furthermore, That the DILG, in partnership with the LGUs and other government agencies, shall distribute the testing-kits to DOH-accredited government hospitals and facilities that can perform testing: Provided, finally, That the DILG, in partnership with the LGUs, shall lead the contact- tracing efforts of the government;
(b) Implementation of an expedited and streamlined registration process of viral testing kits that diagnose Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), nucleic acid, antigen, and other COVID-19 testing kits recommended by the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) and facilitation of prompt testing by public and designated private institutions of suspected, and probable COVID-19 cases and those with no symptoms but with relevant travel history, or may have been exposed due to the nature of their work or due to their living conditions or had contact with a confirmed, suspected or probable case, and the compulsory and immediate isolation, and treatment of confirmed, suspected and probable COVID-19 patients: Provided, That the cost of testing and treatment for COVID-19 patients shall be covered under the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). In addition to testing, isolation and treatment of these patients, the contacts of these patients shall also be immediately and properly traced through the use of efficient technology for data collection and analysis, and by engaging contact tracers that may include, but not limited to, displaced workers both in the formal and informal sectors, from existing networks of barangay health workers, parent-leaders from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and members of duly accredited Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) by national government agencies, subject to the rules and regulations to be issued by the DILG which shall include provisions on recruitment, training, and compensation, among others, of contact tracers;
(c) Adoption of a protocol on the conduct of viral testing and other COVID-19 testing kits recommended by HTAC. For this purpose, the IATF-EID, in full cooperation with the DOH, the DILG, the Department of Labor and. Employment (DOLE), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI), shall ensure the following:
(1) Adequate number of COVID-19 testing centers that provide available, affordable and accessible testing to the public, subject to reimbursement by PhilHealth under existing guidelines: Provided, That people in geographically isolated or highly populated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access to COVID-19 testing;
(2) Hiring of skilled medical technologists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, and other skilled laboratory technicians to conduct COVID-19 testing to achieve an ideal personnel-to-laboratory ratio taking into consideration DOH targets. To address the COVID-19 pandemic and in preparation for future public health emergencies, biomedical research, training, and programs for skilled medical technologists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, and other skilled laboratory technicians shall be implemented utilizing existing public and private molecular laboratory infrastructure; and (3) Procurement and distribution of supplies for viral testing and other COVID-19 testing kits recommended by HTAC based on, among others, the current levels and projections of the following:
(i) Number of patients and health workers with severe or critical symptoms and history of travel or exposure; and
(ii) Number of patients and health workers with mild symptoms, relevant history of travel or exposure, and considered vulnerable and workers returning to work: Provided, That LGUs may implement their own procurement, distribution, and monitoring program consistent with the overall provisions of this Act and the guidelines of the DOH and recommendations by HTAC based on rapid health technology assessment process:
Provided, That only testing kits which are sold and have complied with relevant regulations in the country of origin with an established regulatory agency may be imported, sold, accepted by way of donation and registered in the Philippines: Provided, further, That testing kits which have been recalled by established regulatory agencies of other countries shall be likewise recalled and delisted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA);
(d) Delivery of uninterrupted immunization program against vaccine preventable diseases especially on children amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine for COVID-19;
(e) Adoption by the DOH of a uniform and consistent reporting standard in a language understandable by the general public;
(f) Provision of any of the following subsidies:
(1) An emergency subsidy of Five thousand pesos (P5.000.00) to Eight thousand pesos (P8.000.00) to affected low income households in areas under granular lockdown and to households with recently returned overseas Filipino workers (OFWs): Provided, That the subsidy shall be computed based on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates: Provided, further, That the subsidy received from the current Conditional Cash Transfer Program and rice subsidy shall be taken into consideration in the computation of the emergency subsidy, as provided for in this Act: Provided, furthermore, That the vetting and validation of beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), and the related liquidation report thereto shall be simplified to expedite the distribution of the subsidy: Provided, finally, That a definite and actual list of beneficiaries of the SAP shall be submitted to Congress;
(2) Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to Eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00) unemployment or involuntary separation assistance for displaced workers or employees due to COVID-19 including probationary, project, seasonal, contractual and casual employees in private health institutions, culture and arts, creative industries, including, but not limited to, film and audiovisual workers, broadcast, construction, public transportation, trade and industries, cooperatives, and other sectors of the economy, as may be identified by the DOLE, freelancers, the self-employed and repatriated OFWs, including OFWs whose deployment were suspended due to a government-imposed deployment ban: Provided, That any assistance given to OFWs shall be separate and distinct from the benefits or assistance, if any, they receive as members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA): Provided, further, That any subsidy previously received under Republic Act No. 11469 does not preclude the displaced worker or employee, the freelancers, self-employed, and repatriated OFWs from receiving the unemployment or involuntary separation assistance provided herein: Provided, further, That members of the Social Security System (SSS) who have received the unemployment benefit under Section 14-B (Unemployment Insurance or Involuntary Separation Benefits) of Republic Act No. 11199 or the "Social Security Act of 201S", during the COVID-19 pandemic shall no longer be eligible to avail of the benefits under this subsection: Provided, finally, That the SSS shall take proactive steps to ensure all qualified members be given unemployment benefits under Republic Act No. 11199; and
(3) Emergency subsidy to low income households who are qualified but were not granted such subsidy as mandated under Section 4(c) of Republic Act No. 11469.
Any subsidy program shall, as far as practicable, be implemented through, a social protection distribution system that embeds secure and privacy-preserving data capture, verification, deduplication, payroll generation, grievance, and payout using digital technologies. For this purpose, the payment of necessary transaction fees for the last mile delivery of subsidies to qualified beneficiaries is hereby authorized;
(g) Access ;'to livelihood assistance, skills and training programs, loan assistance, and employment opportunities for repatriated and returning OFWs to ensure proper reintegration and the full utilization of their skills for national development;
(h) Provision of a "COVID-19 special risk allowance" by the national government for all public and private health workers directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients for every month that they are serving during the state of national emergency as declared by the President: Provided, That the COVID-19 special risk allowance of public health-workers shall be in addition to the hazard pay granted under Republic Act No. 7305 or thee "Magna Carta of Public Health Workers" and the active hazard duty pay granted under this Act: Provided, further, That the COVID-19 special risk allowance for both public and private health workers shall be exempt from income tax;
(i) Implementation of mandatory COVID-19 testing of public and private health workers every fifteen (15) days to ensure their protection;
(j) Assumption of all medical expenses of public and private health workers in case of exposure to COVID-19 or any work-related injury or disease during the state of national emergency as declared by the President;
(k) Provision of compensation to public and private health workers who have contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty, with the following amounts, upon submission of required documents to support claims:
(1) In case of death of the health worker. One-million pesos (P 1,000,000.00) shall be provided to the heirs of the health worker;
(2) In case of sickness, for a severe or critical case, One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) shall be provided to the health worker; and
(3) In case of sickness, for a mild or moderate case, Fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00) shall be provided to the health worker:
Provided, That this shall have retroactive application from February 1, 2020: Provided, further, That the compensation provided herein shall be exempt from the applicable taxes under the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended: Provided, finally, That the compensation provided herein shall be given to the beneficiaries not later than three (3) months after the date of confinement or death.
This subsection shall survive the expiration of this Act for as long as a health worker contracts mild or severe COVID-19, infection while in the line of duty or dies while fighting during the state of national emergency as declared by the President;
(l) Provision of life insurance, accommodation, transportation, and meals to all public and private health workers during the state of national emergency as declared by the President, regardless of the community quarantine (CQ) status;
(m) Provision of financial relief to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries during the state of national emergency as declared by the President, the payment of interests, penalties, and surcharges of loans used for land acquisition to any and all government agencies and government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) including Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) shall be condoned, and the remaining original principal value be restructured without interest thereon: Provided, That all previous payment for interest be credited to principal payment instead: Provided, farther, That the condonation of interests, penalties and surcharges from these loans shall be in conformity with the applicable general banking laws and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
(n) Provision of subsidies and allowances to qualified students in private and public elementary, secondary, and tertiary education whose families are now facing financial difficulties brought about by work stoppage and closure of establishments due to the CQ, and neither part of the Listahan of the DSWD nor covered under the Education Service Contracting (ESC), Senior High School Voucher Program (SHS VP) and Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) as provided in Republic Act Nos.8545, 10533 and 10931 J respectively: Provided, That the geographic prioritization of areas where there are no State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) under Republic Act No. 10931 shall be suspended to make qualified students under this subsection eligible: Provided, further, That education subsidies granted under this subsection shall he released directly to the private tertiary education institutions or private basic education schools, respectively, for the purpose of applying the subsidy for unpaid tuition in school year (SY) 2019-2020 or for payment of tuition fee for SY 2020-2021: Provided, finally, That the subsidy shall be released prior to the opening of SY 2020-2021 or within a reasonable period after school opening but in no case later than September 2020, in a manner similar to the TES, ESC, and SHS VP;
(o) Provision of a one-time cash assistance to displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel, including part-time faculty or non-permanent teaching personnel, in private and public elementary, secondary, and tertiary education institutions and part-time faculty in SUCs who have lost then- jobs or who have not received their wages;
(p) Ensuring that all LGUs are acting within the letter and spirit of all the rules, regulations and directives issued by the national government pursuant to this Act; and implementing standards of CQ consistent with what the national government has laid down for the subject area, while allowing LGUs to continue exercising their autonomy in. matters undefined by the national government or are within the parameters it has set; and are fully cooperating towards a unified, cohesive and orderly implementation of the national policy to address COVID-19: Provided, That pursuant to the constitutional right of freedom of movement of persons, the IATF-EID shall be responsible for providing guidance on cross-border concerns, including, but not limited to, Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), OFWs, domestic travellers and residents, while the LGUs shall determine the policies and regulations within their respective jurisdictions;
(q) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the local chief executives of all LGUs are hereby authorized to realign their respective local funds including, but not limited to, then- development fund, Gender and Development Fund, Sangguniang Kabataan Fund, Special Education Fund (SEF), and other local funds, including unutilized or unreleased subsidies' and transfers in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The punong barangays are likewise authorized to make realignments of all allotments and subsidies in response to the pandemic.
The LGUs may utilize by up to ten percent (10%) of their current budget to cover expenditures arising from their COVID-19 responses: Provided, That the seventy percent (70%) limit on "pre-disaster" initiatives is hereby waived.
The LGUs may also increase their respective personnel services cap by up to ten percent (10%) for first (1") to third (3 rd) class municipalities and up to five percent (5%) for the fourth (4 th) to sixth (6 th) class municipalities, and cities, and provinces: Provided, That the same shall be used for the hiring of additional health workers, the generation of temporary jobs for marginalized and hard-hit sectors as well as for other emergency employment programs undertaken by the LGU in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Provided, farther, That the allowable debt service ceiling of LGUs is increased to thirty percent (30%) of their annual regular income including their share in the national taxes: Provided, finally, That the LGUs shall be exempt from the loan ceiling cap imposed by the Department of Finance (DOF).
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) shall automatically and completely release any adjusted or remaining shares of LGUs in national wealth and National Tax Allotment (NTA) pursuant to Section 286 of Republic Act No. 7160 or the "Local Government Code of 1991".
The amount of Three billion five hundred million pesos (P3,500,000,000.00) to be appropriated as follows, One billion five hundred million pesos (P1,500,000,000.00) to the Local Government Support Fund (LGSF) to provide financial assistance to LGUs in their local anti-COVID efforts, and One billion pesos (P1,000,000,000.00) each to the LBP and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to subsidize the payment of interest on new and existing loans secured by LGUs from government financial Institutions (GFls);
(r) Enforcement of measures to protect the people from hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices, product deceptions, and cartels, monopolies or other combinations in restraint of trade, or other pernicious practices affecting the supply, distribution and movement of food, clothing, hygiene and sanitation products, medicine and medical supplies, fuel, fertilizers, chemicals, building materials, implements, machinery equipment and spare parts required in agriculture, industry and other essential services, and other articles of prime necessity, whether imported or locally produced or manufactured;
(s) Ensuring that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products intended to address the COVID-19 pandemic are not unnecessarily delayed and that health products for donation duly certified by the regulatory agency or their accredited third party from countries with established regulation shall automatically be cleared: Provided, That this shall not apply to health products which do not require a certification or clearance from the FDA;
(t) Provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) including, but not limited to, protective suits, face masks, shoe covers, face shields, and goggles to public and private COVID-19 referral hospitals, both national and local, barangays, and other indigent persons that need protection from the spread of COVID-19 by the national government through the DOH: Provided, That preference and incentives shall be given to medical safety products that are locally manufactured;
(u) Procurement of the following as the need arises, in. the most judicious, economical and expeditious manner, as-exemptions from the provisions on bidding process required under Republic Act No. 9184 or the "Government Procurement Reform Act" and other relevant laws: Provided, That the following information and documents related to the procurement shall be published in the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) online portal, the website of the procuring entity concerned., if available, and at any conspicuous place reserved for this purpose in the premises of the procuring entity within seven (7) working days from the date of acceptance of the award:
(i) Project name;
(ii) Approved budget for contract;
(iii) Contract period;
(iv) Name of winning supplier, distributor, manufacturer, contractor or consultant;
(v) Amount of contract as awarded; (vi) Notice of award; (vii) Date of award and acceptance; (viii) Contract or purchase order; and
(ix) A certification stating that the procuring entity exerted all efforts to secure the most advantageous price to the government based on existing price data of the agency, the DTI or other relevant agencies or preliminary market scanning done by the agency showing prevailing market prices and practice.
(1) Goods, which may include PPE such as gloves, gowns, masks, goggles, and face shields; surgical equipment and supplies; laboratory equipment and its reagents; medical equipment and devices; support and maintenance for laboratory and medical equipment, surgical equipment and supplies; medical supplies, tools, and consumables such as alcohol, sanitizers, tissue, thermometers, hand soap, detergent, sodium hypochlorite, cleaning materials, povidone iodine, common medicines (e.g., paracetamol tablet and suspension, mefenamic acid, vitamins tablet and suspension, hyoscine tablet and suspension, oral rehydration solution, and cetirizine tablet and suspension); testing kits, and such other supplies or equipment as may be determined by the DOH and other relevant government agencies: Provided, That the DOH shall prioritize the allocation and distribution of the aforesaid goods, supplies and other resources to the following:
(i) Public health facilities in the regions, provinces, or cities, that are designated as COVID-19 referral hospitals, such as, but not limited to, Philippine-'General Hospital (PGH), Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital;
(ii) Private hospitals which have existing capacities to provide support care and treatment to COVID-19 patients; and
(iii) Public and private laboratories that have existing capacities to test suspected COVID-19 patients.
(2) Goods and services for social amelioration measures in favor of affected communities;
(3) Lease of real property or venue for use to house health workers or serve as quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution locations, or temporary medical facilities;
(4) Establishment, construction, and operation of temporary medical facilities;
(5) Utilities, telecommunications, and other critical services in relation to operation of quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution centers and temporary medical facilities; and
(6) Ancillary services related to the foregoing: Provided, That to ensure adequate and responsive supply of critical products, the government, as procuring entity shall give preference and procure products, materials and supplies produced, made or manufactured in the Philippines. For this purpose, the DTI through Negosyo Centers shall coordinate the availment of relevant credit and training programs under this Act to promote and facilitate domestic supply: Provided, further, That it shall be subject to competitive procurement procedures: Provided, furthermore, That the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) or the concerned procuring entity shall make the award to the lowest domestic manufacture r-bidder notwithstanding that its bid is fifteen percent (15%) in excess of the lowest foreign bid: Provided, furthermore, That it secures from the DTI a certification that the articles forming part of its bid are substantially composed of articles, materials, or supplies grown, produced, or manufactured in the Philippines: Provided, finally, That other qualification and documentary requirements for local manufacturers and suppliers shall be prioritized and expedited by the DOH, FDA and other concerned departments and agencies;
(v) Partnering with the Philippine Red Cross, as the primary humanitarian agency .that is auxiliary to the government in giving aid to the people, subject to reimbursement, in the distribution of goods and services incidental in the fight against COVID-19;
(w) Engaging temporary Human Resources for Health (HRH) such, as medical and allied medical staff to complement or supplement the current health workforce or to man the temporary medical facilities to be established in accordance with Section 4(u)(4) of this Act: Provided, That HRH to be hired on temporary basis shall receive the appropriate compensation and allowances: Provided, further, That all HRH serving in the front line during the state of emergency due to COVID-19, shall receive an actual hazard duty pay from the national government: Provided, furthermore, That the actual hazard duty pay shall be in addition to the hazard pay granted under Republic Act No. 7305 and the COVID-19 special risk allowance granted under this Act: Provided, furthermore, That the active hazard duty pay received by all HRH serving in the front line during the state of national emergency as declared by the President shall be exempt from income tax: Provided, finally, That DOH, the DOLE and then- attached agencies shall closely coordinate to ensure that returning OFW-health workers, or those whose deployments were suspended due to COVID-19, shall be properly referred to the ongoing hiring of temporary HRH by the DOH;
(x) Ensuring the availability of credit to the productive sectors of the economy especially in the countryside through measures such as, but not limited to, lowering the effective lending rates of interest and reserve requirements of lending institutions: Provided, That credit accommodation to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed, shall be imposed a low- interest, payable within three (3) years and shall not require any collateral if the loan does not exceed Three million pesos (P3,000,000.00);
(y) Provision of loan interest rate subsidies for institutions of learning that have been affected by the decrease in enrollment due to the CQ or to enable these institutions to adequately prepare to implement blended learning: Provided, That the terms of the loan shall be more reasonable than the prevailing market terms: Provided, further, That the availment of such loan shall be conditioned on the non-implementation of an increase in tuition and other fees for the next school or academic year: Provided, finally, That private schools, colleges and universities receiving grants will retain their personnel complement at the time of receipt of aid, and will not engage in retrenchment of employees for a period of nine (9) months from receipt of grant;
(z) Directing the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) to expand its existing loan programs for MSMEs, cooperatives, hospitals, tourism and OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and by other socioeconomic reversals, through a combination of increasing available loanable funds, reducing documentary requirements, increasing maximum loan amounts per borrower, reducing interest rates, extending loan terms, utilization of financial technologies to expand reach and increase access and set fast turn-around loan processing time; and allow the use of the loan proceeds for payroll costs, materials and suppliers, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, including fuel and storage, creation of new supportive businesses, re-purposing of existing business capital, any other business debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period or acquisition of new technologies and systems to adjust business processes for resiliency;
(aa) Directing the LBP and the DBP to introduce a low interest and/or "flexible term" loan program for operating expenses available to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to assist and encourage them and their creditors to continue investing in, lending to and operating their businesses: Provided, That priority shall be given to agri-fishery and non-essential businesses that are micro, small and medium enterprises, including, but not limited to, startups and cooperatives;
(bb) Directing the Philippine Guarantee Corporation (PhilGuarantee) to issue an expanded government guarantee program for non-essential businesses, to ease current rules and regulations and give preference to critically impacted businesses, MSMEs, cooperatives and activities that support DOH initiatives towards ensuring an adequate and responsive supply of health care services, and -to guarantee the loan portfolio of partner financial institutions of eligible MSME and cooperative loans;
(cc) Liberalization of the grant of incentives for the manufacture or importation of critical or needed equipment or supplies or essential goods for the carrying-out of the policy declared herein, including health care equipment and supplies: Provided, That the exemption from import duties, taxes, and other fees for manufacture or importation of critical equipment or essential goods shall be determined by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), respectively: Provided, further, That limitations and restrictions to the sale, distribution, and trade of the foregoing goods, equipment or supplies may be imposed to prevent shortage of supply and to ensure that the prices thereof remain reasonable, giving priority and preference to the needs and safety of health workers and frontliners, violations of which shall be punishable under Section 16 of Republic Act No. 7581 or the "Price Act", as amended. For this purpose, critical products, equipment or supplies or essential goods shall include the following: (1) goods referred to in Section 4(u)(l) hereof related to the containment or mitigation of COVID-19; (2) equipment for waste management, including, but not limited to, waste segregation, storage, collection, sorting, treatment and disposal services: Provided, furthermore, That these said equipment and technologies and services are approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), DOH or other concerned regulatory agencies; (3) inputs, raw materials and equipment necessary for the manufacture or production of essential goods referred to in Section 4(u)(l) hereof related to the containment or mitigation of COVID-19: Provided, furthermore, That for the purpose of qualifying for exemption from import duties, taxes, and other fees and ensuring supply of PPE at competitive prices, DTI shall certify that the equipment and supplies being imported are not locally available or of insufficient quality and preference: Provided, finally, That preference is given to products, materials and supplies produced, made or manufactured in the Philippines;
(dd) Ensuring the availability of essential goods, in particular, food and medicine, by adopting measures as may reasonably be necessary to facilitate and/or minimize disruption to the supply chain and/or improve the national end-to-end supply chain, including measures to reduce logistics costs, especially for basic commodities and services to the maximum extent possible. Further, the DTI may suspend export requirement for export enterprises that produce critical goods as referred to in Section 4(u)(l) and require them to supply locally subject to the application of Section 4(cc);
(ee) Requiring businesses to prioritize and accept contracts, subject to fair and reasonable terms, for materials and services necessary to promote the herein declared national policy: Provided, That the rates chargeable by accommodation establishments to persons mandated by law or regulations to undergo quarantine may be regulated by the Department of Tourism (DOT);
(ff) Provision of extension support, direct cash or loan interest rate subsidy or other forms of assistance to qualified agri-fishery enterprises, agriculture cooperatives, farmers, fisherfolk, and other agricultural workers through the Department of Agriculture (DA);
(gg) Directing the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and such other agencies or instrumentalities that may be authorized under this Act to extend the following assistance to critically impacted businesses in the transportation industry, including transport cooperatives:
(1) Provide direct cash or loan interest rate subsidy;
(2) Provide grants for applicable regulatory fees;
(3) Allow substitution of refund option to travel vouchers;
(4) Provide grants for fuel subsidy and/or digital fare vouchers, as may be necessary; and
(5) Provide grants for training, equipment, facilities, test kits and necessary personnel, on coping with increased health risks arising from infectious diseases.
Within fifteen (15) days from the effectivity of this Act, the DOTr or any of its instrumentalities shall prescribe the eligibility requirements and other terms and conditions for any of the above mentioned assistance, subject to the guidelines issued under this subsection.
For purposes of item (1) herein, the DOTr or any of its instrumentalities shall utilize the loan and/or loan guarantee programs and other loan related measures provided under this Act, subject to- the rules, regulations and guidelines issued under the corresponding intervention, including proper credit assessment of the borrower by the LBP and DEP which will administer the credit facilities or loan guarantees under this Act: Provided, That a reasonable and proper business plan shall be submitted by the borrower: Provided, further, That loan interventions implemented under this subsection shall be exclusively for critically impacted businesses and transport cooperatives in the transportation industry only.
For purposes of item (2) herein, the grants may include reductions in (i) rates through the removal of local taxes as may be applicable, and (ii) fees and charges imposed by any regulatory agency and LGU. Such grants shall be payable, respectively, to the BIR, the LGUs and relevant regulatory agencies: Provided, That the grant shall be chargeable against the fund created for the purpose of implementing this subsection: Provided, further, That any critically impacted business may avail of the grant for a period of not more than six (6) months.
Availment of any economic relief such as wage subsidy, loan, and loan guarantees and other relief under the other provisions of this Act, does not disqualify such critically impacted businesses belonging to the "transportation industry including transport cooperatives from availing the economic relief provided under this subsection.
The DOTr shall prioritize business entities that shall require assistance for any activity that supports the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program under Executive Order No. 114, s. 2020;
(hh) Directing the DOT to assist critically impacted businesses that are tourism enterprises, including tourism- oriented barangay micro business enterprises, cooperatives engaged in tourism-related activities or other members of the informal sector in the tourism, economy in any of the following programs:
(1) Provide loan interest rate subsidy;
(2) Tourism Road Infrastructure Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH);
(3) Cash-for-work programs and the unemployment and involuntary assistance for the displaced workers or employees in the tourism sector;
(4) Marketing and product development, promotions and programs, including travel advertising and festival-support strategies;
(5) Grants for education, training, and advising of tourism stakeholder for the new normal alternative livelihood programs;
(6) Utilization of information technology for the improvement of tourism services, development of a tourist tracking system for emergency response, and establishment of spatial database to improve planning capacity;
(7) In partnership with the LGU and DOH and/or private entities, establish COVID-19 testing centers in tourist destinations as identified by the DOT, to stimulate tourism and generate employment; and
(8) Any other relevant programs, including infrastructure, product-sourcing, and subsidized domestic package tours necessary to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19 on the tourism industry.
For purposes of item (1) herein, the SBCorp under its COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program shall administer the loans for DOT but subject to guidelines from the DOT that shall be prepared for these purposes: Provided, That the loan interventions implemented under this section shall be exclusively for accredited tourism enterprises, including such small-scale tourism-oriented enterprises accredited by LGUs, under Republic Act No. 9178 or the "Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act of 2002".
Availment of grants, loans or loan guarantees through other provisions of this Act is not a disqualification for any tourism enterprise to avail of any economic relief measures in this section.
The DOT shall prioritize establishments that (1) support the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program, and (2) comply with the guidelines of the DOH towards ensuring an adequate and responsive supply of health care services;
(ii) Undertaking measures in partnership with appropriate internet and communication service providers in the acceleration of the deployment of critical Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure particularly additional cell towers, equipment, software, and wireless technologies throughout the country to address the need for digital connectivity, internet speed and stability, and Cybersecurity in E-Commerce, E-Government, online learning, and telecommuting in order to sufficiently meet the significant additional shift of the general public to online services and platforms and to home and mobile communication units for doing work from home, for completing commercial and other transactions, for convening meetings and conducting conferences and seminars/webinars, and for obtaining educational instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Such measures shall include the following:
(1) Temporary suspension of requirements to secure permits and clearances for the construction of telecommunications and internet infrastructure.
Except for the building permit issued by the Office of the Building Official pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1096 or the "National Building Code of the Philippines", as amended, and the height clearance permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), no national or local permit or clearance shall be required in the construction, installation, repair, operation and maintenance of telecommunications and internet infrastructure by independent tower companies registered with the DICT, or holders of certificates of public convenience and necessity or provisional authority granted by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to public telecommunication entities, for a period of three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, That for homeowners and other community clearances, the requirements provided under Section 15 of Republic Act No. 11032 or the "Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act", in relation to Section 10(k) of Republic Act No. 9904 or the "Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners' Associations", shall apply.
A CAAP height clearance permit shall be required if the telecommunications tower infrastructure: (i) is in excess of fifty (50) meters in height and in the direct flight plan within a three (3)-kilometer radius" of an airport; or (ii) shall be constructed within the ten (lO)-kilometer radius of communication-navigation surveillance facilities located off-airport. When the proposed structure does not fall within any of the foregoing restrictions, the applicant shall only be required to submit to the LGU and the CAAP, a notarized undertaking certified by a geodetic engineer, attesting that the proposed structure will be built outside the CAAP critical areas.
(2) Streamlining of regulatory processes and procedures for the development and improvement of digital, internet and satellite technology infrastructure.
Notwithstanding Section 4(eee) of this Act, all pending and new applications for the construction of cell sites, cell towers, roll out of fiber, installation of poles, ground terminals and other transmission or similar telecommunications and internet structure and facilities shall be approved or disapproved within a non-extendible period of seven (7) working days from the date the application was received. An application which is not acted upon within such period shall be deemed approved.
Provided, That the advantages of temporary suspension of requirements and streamlining of regulatory processes shall also apply to other value-added service providers and internet service providers in the establishment and operation of necessary equipment and facilities, and use of necessary technologies in order to expand the 1 coverage of broadband internet networks and provide connectivity to unserved and undeserved communities.
No court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the construction of telecommunications infrastructure, including cell sites and cell towers;
(jj) Directing the DTI, in coordination with other implementing .-agencies, to accelerate and undertake massive promotion of online commerce and offer technical and financial assistance through GFIs to those engaged in E-Commerce, such as those involved in internet retail, digital financial services, digital media, and ride-hailing.' These include programs that will expedite the digitalization of MSMEs and cooperatives through, training subsidies for onboarding or starter kits, wage support for new online enterprises, upskilling/reskilling and other activities as may be defined by the DTI, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), DICT, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED);
(kk) Regulation and limitation of the operation of all sectors of transportation through land, sea or air, whether private or public, and provide the necessary infrastructure and support, including emergency pathways, LGU bicycle sharing scheme with proper safety equipment and pop-up bike lanes, for commuters, particularly health workers and other frontliners;
(ll) Regulation of traffic on all roads, streets, and bridges, and access thereto; prohibit putting up of encroachments or obstacles; authorize the removal of encroachments and illegal constructions in public places; and perform all other related acts;
(mm) Authorization of alternative working arrangements for employees and workers in the Executive Branch, and whenever, it becomes necessary, in other independent branches of government and constitutional bodies, and the private sector;
(nn) Conservation and regulation of the distribution and use of power, fuel, energy and water, and ensure adequate supply of the same;
(oo) Implementation of the proper management and segregation of waste, especially of hazardous materials coming from health facilities, in the communities and households in order to contain the C0V1D-19 virus and other diseases;
(pp) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, directing the discontinuance of appropriated programs, activities or projects (P/A/Ps) of any agency of the Executive Department, including GOCCs, in the fiscal years (FYs) 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which cannot be utilized effectively as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, whether released or unreleased, the allotments for which remain unobligated, and utilize the savings generated therefrom to augment the allocation for any item needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic consistent with the herein declared national policy. The P/A/Ps that may be discontinued shall include discretionary foreign travel, representation, mass events and those identified by government agencies prior to the effectivity of this Act: Provided, That such discontinued P/A/Ps do not support the objectives of economic stimulus and recovery for having low labor intensity or low multiplier effects: Provided, further, That infrastructure, having the highest multiplier effect can only be discontinued when all other funds, including unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations, have been exhausted: Provided, furthermore, That the following items in the budget shall be prioritized for augmentation:
(1) Under the DOH — operational budgets of government hospitals, temporary treatment, isolation, quarantine and monitoring facilities, primarily those identified for treatment of COVID-19; prevention and control of other infectious diseases; emergency preparedness and response; and Quick Response Fund (QRF);
(2) Under the University of the Philippines - the operational budget of the PGH;
(3) The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund or Calamity Fund;
(4) Programs of the DOLE, such as, but not limited to: COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), Tulong Panghanapbunay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), and the DOLE Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong (AKAP) for OFWs: Provided, That in giving assistance under these programs, priority shall be given to those workers who have not been granted assistance under any of the programs of the government for workers;
(5) Under the DTI - Livelihood Seeding Program and Negosyo Serhisyo sa Barangay;
(6) Under the DA — Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Program;
(7) Under the Department of Education (DepEd) - School-Based Feeding Program, digital education, digital infrastructure, support to alternative learning modalities, and printing and delivery of self-learning modules;
(8) Under various DSWD programs such as, but not limited to, Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS), distribution of food and non-food items, livelihood assistance grants, and supplemental feeding program for daycare children;
(9) Under the DPWH - Local Infrastructure Programs (LIPs); and
(10) Under Allocations to LGUs.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, the discontinued P/A/P may be revived at any time after the COVID-19 pandemic has ceased, and notwithstanding Section 67 of Republic Act No. 11465 or the "General Appropriations Act of 2020", may be revived and proposed for funding within the next two (2) fiscal years.
The DSWD and DOLE shall be allowed, through Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), to transfer funds to the LGUs and allow said LGUs to facilitate the distribution of the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (SocPen), AICS and Food and Non-Food Items (FNFI), CAMP, TUPAD, and the AKAP for OFWs;
(qq) Any unutilized or unreleased balance in special purpose funds (SPFs) shall be considered to have their purpose abandoned during the state of national emergency as declared by the President. All such unspent, unutilized or unreleased money or funds sourced from SPFs shall be utilized and are hereby appropriated for such measures to address the COVTD-19 situation and accomplish the declared national policy herein;
(rr) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, to reprogram, reallocate, and realign from savings on other items in the FY 2020 GAA in the Executive Department, as may be necessary and beneficial to fund measures that address and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including social amelioration for affected communities and the recovery of areas, sectors and industries severely affected. All amounts so reprogrammed, reallocated or realigned shall be deemed automatically appropriated for such measures to address the COVID-19 situation within the period specified under Section 18 hereof: Provided, That such reprogram, reallocation and realignment shall be limited to the sources of funding enumerated under Section 11 of this Act;
(ss) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the President is hereby authorized to allocate cash, funds, investments, including unutilized or unreleased subsidies and transfers, held by any GOCC or any national government agency in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic;
(tt) Moving of statutory deadlines and timelines for the filing and submission of any document, the payment of taxes, fees, and other charges required by law, and the grant of any benefit, in order to ease the burden on individuals under CQ;
(uu) Directing all banks, quasi-banks, financing companies, lending companies, real estate developers, insurance companies providing life insurance policies, pre-need companies, entities providing in-house financing for goods and properties purchased, asset and liabilities management companies and other financial institutions, public and private, including the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the SSS and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund), to implement a one-time sixty (60)-day grace period to be granted for the payment of all existing, current and outstanding loans falling due, or any part thereof, on or before December 31, 2020, including, but not limited to, salary, personal, housing, commercial, and motor vehicle loans, amortizations, financial lease payments and premium payments, as well as credit card payments, without incurring interest on interests, penalties, fees, or other charges and thereby extending the maturity of the said loans: Provided, That all loans may be settled on staggered basis without interest. on interests, penalties and other charges until December 31, 2020 or as may be agreed upon by the parties: Provided, further, That nothing shall stop the parties from mutually agreeing for a grace period longer than sixty (60) days: Provided, furthermore, That the banks and other non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) that agree to further loan term extensions or restructuring pursuant to this subsection shall be entitled to regulatory relief, as may be determined by the BSP, which may include, but is not limited to, (i) staggered booking of allowances for credit losses, (ii) exemption from loan-loss provisioning, (iii) exemption from the limits on real estate loans, when applicable, (iv) exemption from related party transaction restrictions, and (v) non-inclusion in the bank's or NBFI's reporting on non-performing loans: Provided, finally, That the loan term extensions or restructuring pursuant to this subsection shall be exempt from documentary stamp taxes.
It is understood that this provision shall not apply to interbank loan and bank borrowings;
(vv) Directing all institutions providing electric, water, telecommunications, and other similar utilities to implement a minimum of thirty (30)-day grace period for the payment of utilities falling due within the period of ECQ or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ)'without incurring interests, penalties, and other charges: Provided, That after the grace period, unpaid residential, MSME and cooperatives utility bills may be settled on a staggered basis payable in not less than three (3) monthly installments, subject to the procedural requirements of the concerned regulatory agencies in the imposition of such installment plan without interests, penalties, and other charges: Provided, further, That covered institutions under this subsection may offer less onerous payment terms, with the consent of their clients subject to the approval of their respective regulators: Provided, furthermore, That in the case of the electric power sector, the minimum thirty (30)-day-grace period and staggered payment without interests, penalties and '6ther charges shall apply to all payments due within the period of the CQ in the entire electric power value chain to include generation companies, the transmission utility, and distribution utilities;
(ww) Provision of a minimum of thirty (30)-day grace period on residential rents and commercial rents of lessees not permitted to work, and MSMEs and cooperatives ordered to temporarily cease operations, falling due within the period of the CQ, without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges: Provided, That all amounts due within the period of CQ shall be amortized in equal monthly installments until December 31, 2020 without any interests, penalties and other charges: Provided, further? That no increase in rent shall be imposed during the same period: Provided, furthermore, That the minimum thirty (30)-day grace period shall be reckoned from the date of the lifting of the ECQ or MECQ;
(xx) Implementation of an expanded and enhanced 4Ps, responsive to the needs posed by the crisis, and provision of an assistance program, whether in cash or non-cash, whichever is more practicable, where the Secretary of DSWD or the Secretary of DOLE, when relevant, shall transfer cash, cash vouchers, or goods through the LGUs or directly to households who have no incomes or savings to draw from, including households working in the informal economy and those who are not currently recipients of the current 4Ps, of an amount adequate to restore capacity to purchase basic food and other essential items after the duration of the quarantine. To carry out this subsection, the Secretary of DSWD and the Secretary of DOLE may approve the temporary emergency standards of eligibility and level of benefits;
(yy) Lifting of the thirty percent (30%) cap on the amount appropriated for the QRF, as provided for in Republic Act No. 10121 or the "Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010", during the state of national emergency as declared by the President;
(zz) Provision of assistance to the agriculture industry, including agriculture cooperatives by creating the "Plant, Plant, Plant" Program which shall be composed of the following: (1) Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) kontra sa COVID-19; (2) food markets — food logistics and other interventions; (3) Urban agriculture program of the DA; and (4) Cash-for-work program in agriculture;
(aaa) Implementation of a program which would: (1) fast track the approval of all pending and new applications for housing loans, permits and licenses by simplifying the requirements and procedure; and (2) accommodate and prioritize critically impacted home buyers who may want to shift from private bank financing to Pag-IBIG home financing with simplified requirements through the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) program and its key shelter agencies;
(bbb) Notwithstanding Section 89 of Republic Act No. 7653 or "The New Central Bank Act", as amended, the BSP is hereby authorized to make additional direct provisional advances with or without interest to the national government to finance expenditures authorized by law that will address and respond to the COVID-19 situation: Provided, That such additional direct provisional advances shall not, in their aggregate, exceed ten percent (10%) of the average income of the national government for FYs 2017 to 2019: Provided, further, That said additional direct provisional advances shall he availed of within two (2) years from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, furthermore, That the additional direct provisional advances shall be repaid before the end of one (1) year following the date that the national government received such additional direct provisional advances pursuant to this Act, extensible for another year as the Monetary Board may allow;
(ccc) Encouraging the BSP to allow private banks and financial institutions to: (1) reallocate any unutilized loanable funds to housing loans; and (2) to grant subsidy to the home loan borrowers at the rate equivalent to the gross receipt tax imposed on banks and financial institutions on their interest income;
(ddd) Encouraging BSP and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt measures, including the relaxation of regulatory and statutory restrictions and requirements for a period of not more than one (1) year from their date of effectivity to encourage the banking industry and other financial institutions to extend loans and other forms of financial accommodation to help business recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis and to enable the banking industry to manage appropriately its risks and potential losses.
The BSP and the SEC are likewise hereby authorized to grant reporting relief to its supervised entities by allowing staggered booking of allowance for credit losses for all types of credit accommodations extended to individuals and business entities affected by COVID-19;
(eee) Issuance of a directive that all government agencies and LGUs shall act on all pending and new applications for permit, license, certificate, clearance, authorization and resolutions within a non-extendable period of seven (7) working days, in order to support business continuity and encourage resumption of all economic activities: Provided, That the applicant shall be allowed to undertake its compliance to any additional requirement that may be imposed by the government agency or LGU, and such will not delay the approval of the application: Provided, further, That this shall not apply to regulatory processes involving administrative investigations or enforcement activities by government regulators exercising quasi-judicial functions: Provided, finally, That the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) shall promote business continuity and capacity building, as such, all mergers and acquisitions with transaction values below Fifty billion pesos (P50,000,000,000.00) shall be exempt from compulsory notification under Section 17 of Republic Act No. 10667 or the "Philippine Competition Act" if entered into within a period of two (2) years from the effectivity of this Act, and further, shall be exempt from the PCC's power to review mergers and acquisitions motu proprio provided in Section 12 of Republic Act No. 10667 for a period of one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act.
(fff) Production of a masterlist in electronic and machine-readable data format of all displaced and critically impacted transport workers under the road, rail, air, and maritime sectors to effectively implement the distribution of wage subsidies, cash-for-work program, or service contracting of public utility vehicles as provided for in Sections 4 and 10 of this Act, through the DOTr: Provided, That the DOTr is directed to coordinate the accelerated distribution of remaining subsidy' under the SAP of Republic Act No. 11469 to driver-beneficiaries: Provided, further, That the DOTr is also directed to coordinate with transport service providers, transport cooperatives and LGUs' to negotiate partially subsidized service contracting of public utility vehicles as a form of temporary livelihood to workers displaced by restrictions and reduced capacity of public transportation, and other forms of arrangement to ensure that livelihood in the transport sector is preserved: Provided, finally, That there shall be no phase-out, at the national and local level, of any modality of public utility vehicle as the industry transitions to a new normal;
(ggg) Provision of access to free, healthy meals to undernourished children as mandated by Republic Act No. 11037 or the "Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act" regardless of modality of learning through the DepEd;
(hhh) Provision of regulatory relief to the critically impacted creative sector by tasking the DTI and the DILG to review the imposition of the amusement tax. The President shall have the power to suspend, reduce or waive the imposition of the fees and charges as recommended by the DTI and DILG for a period of six (6) months;
(iii) Provision of loan assistance, subsidies, discounts or grants to schools, universities, colleges, technical vocational institutions, teachers, faculties, and students for the purchase of distance learning tools, such as computers, laptops, tablets and other ICT devices and equipment necessary to conduct and access classes and learning materials under alternative delivery modes of teaching and learning in the new normal through the DepEd, the CHED and the TESDA, in partnership with GFIs: Provided, That the loan shall have terms that are more reasonable than those prevailing in the market: Provided, further, That private schools, colleges and universities receiving grants will retain their personnel complement at the time of receipt of aid, and will not engage in retrenchment of employees for a period of nine (9) months from receipt of grant;
(jjj) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 272 of Republic Act No. 7160 or the "Local Government Code of 1991", a portion of the SEF may be used for the support of alternative learning modalities, digital education, digital infrastructure, and continuity plans, such as the purchase of equipment, materials, and supplies related thereto, printing and delivery of self-learning modules, provision of safe schools infrastructure, equipment and facilities such as handwashing stations, soap, alcohol, sanitizers, and other disinfecting solutions, as well as medical health supplies deemed appropriate by public health officials such as thermometers, face masks, and face shields, subject to existing accounting and auditing rules;
(kkk) Extension of the term of standby loans entered into by LGUs;
(lll) Utilization of unexpended cash balances of public funds held in trust by CGUs, for purposes that have been completed or abandoned and allow the transfer of these funds to the general fund of the LGUs concerned to be made available for appropriation to support local government programs and projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
(mmm) Directing the DPWH and other government agencies to expedite the implementation of infrastructure programs and projects to generate local employment and stimulate the local economy: Provided, That infrastructure flagship projects identified by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shall be fast-tracked to pump prime the economy and help promote national economic recovery: Provided, further, That all permits and licenses including local government permits, licenses, clearances and registration requirement for infrastructure flagship projects shall be deemed waived for a period of one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, furthermore, That permit requirements relating to environmental laws, health and occupational safety shall continue to be applicable and subject to a processing time of seven (7) working days: Provided, finally, That all laws requiring the permits waived under this provision shall be deemed amended during this one (l)-year period of fast-track development;
(nnn) In order to address delays in the implementation and immediately stimulate economic activity and generate employment during the state of national emergency as declared by the President, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, 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 waived for private projects that are nationally significant or those with high economic returns or high employment potential as may be determined by a committee to be chaired by the Secretary of DOF, with the Secretary of DTI .and Secretary of DENR as members and the secretariat of the committee shall be the DOF: Provided; That the committee shall identify the projects that shall be granted regulatory relief and the specific permits, licenses, certificates, clearances, consents, authorizations or resolutions that shall be waived: Provided, further, That entities or projects granted such regulatory relief and waivers should submit the requirements and pay the fees to the concerned agencies prior to commencement of any activity: Provided, furthermore, That this authority shall be valid during the state of national emergency as declared by the President and the economic rehabilitation period or until the last day of June 2022, whichever is later: Provided, finally, That no court, except the Supreme Court, shall issue any temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the committee and the completion or operation of the project granted regulatory relief;
(ooo) Allowing national and local government agencies to directly purchase agricultural and fishery products from farmers and fisherfolk and agriculture cooperatives as a form of direct assistance even beyond the lapse of Republic Act No. 11469 in accordance with Republic Act No. 11321, or the "Sagip Saka Act";
(ppp) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the President is hereby authorized to realign and reprogram funds from P/A/Ps which cannot be utilized effectively as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, whether released or unreleased, the allotments for which remain unobligated and utilize the savings generated therefrom to fund the following priority programs:
(1) Purchase of PPE for health workers and other frontliners;
(2) Establishment of isolation and treatment facilities;
(3) Construction of field hospitals;
(4) Purchase of vaccine and/or cure for COVID-19 once available;
(5) Hiring and provision of benefits for health workers and providing for their allowances;
(6) Testing for COVID-19; and
(7) Subsidy for COVID-19 positive patients admitted to isolation centers:
Provided, That appropriations for infrastructure projects shall not be subject of reprogramming and realignment;
(qqq) Mandating the DOH to issue procedures and guidelines on the establishment of private isolation and quarantine facilities created for the employees of private enterprises who are infected with COVID-19 that comply with DOH and WHO public health and safety standards: Provided, That the DILG shall ensure that LGUs have supervision and authority over issuance of permits for the establishment of privately-run isolation and quarantine facilities: Provided, further, That the LGUs, through DILG, be mandated to fast-track the processing of the issuance of permits for the isolation and quarantine facilities through strict compliance with Republic Act No. 9485 or the "Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007", as amended;
(rrr) Subject to the provisions of Republic Act No. 10173 or the "Data Privacy Act of 2012" and Republic Act No. 11332 or the "Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act", mandating the DOH, in consultation with the National Privacy Commission, DICT, and DILG, to immediately create and adopt a national online electronic application system accessible to everyone in each LGU to provide contact tracing capacity, scheduled transport capability, and information necessary to enable the government to do effective contact tracing of all individuals in each locality; thereafter, mandating the DTI to require adoption of the nationwide online electronic application at all private establishments to monitor the movement of individuals and to serve as' a means of enabling contact tracing for suspected COVID-19 positive;
(sss) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, directing the discontinuance of unutilized automatic appropriations for debt service and available appropriations for redemption of maturing government securities and use the savings generated therefrom to augment the allocation for any item necessary for the purposes identified in this Act.ℒαwρhi৷ All amounts so reprogrammed, reallocated, or -realigned shall be deemed automatically appropriated for the said purposes: Provided, That for interest payment, the savings will be generated from the unused appropriations after actual payment of interest per monthly interest payment submitted by the BTr to the DBM: Provided, further, That for principal repayment, the savings will be generated from the funds freed up as a result of a debt exchange by the BTr;
(ttt) Any unutilized or unreleased balance in the Municipal Development Fund created under Presidential Decree No. 1914 including investments and undrawn portions of all loans shall be considered to have their purpose abandoned. All such unspent, unutilized, unreleased, or undrawn money or funds shall be utilized and are hereby automatically appropriated for LGU loans and borrowings from the GFIs, including the provision of loan interest rate subsidy until 2022, and such measures to address the COVID-19 situation and accomplish the declared national policy herein: Provided, That all investments, loans, credits, grants, or other credit accommodations existing at the time of effectivity of this Act shall be assigned to the GFIs which shall henceforth have all the rights and obligations of the fund under the contracts: Provided, further, That the assigned funds shall be accessed and utilized exclusively by the LGUs: Provided, furthermore, That all approved loans and undisbursed balances for committed LGU loans and borrowings will continue to be disbursed and will be administered by the GFIs: Provided, finally, .That the Ten billion peso (P 10,000,000,000.00) proceeds of the Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) investments in government securities are hereby automatically appropriated for such measures to address the COVID-19 situation and accomplish the declared national policy herein;
(uuu) Directing the appropriate GFIs to prioritize in then- lending and credit line operations, hospitals and health care institutions with cashflow or liquidity issues during the state of national emergency as declared by the President: Provided, That the GFIs shall adopt necessary mechanisms allowing hospitals and health care institutions to borrow against arrears due them from the PhilHealth: Provided, further, That as part of eligibility requirements, the availing hospitals and health care institutions shall be duly accredited by PhilHealth;
(vvv) Directing the PhilHealth to immediately release and/or reimburse the funds due to the district, provincial, and city hospitals;
(www) Provision of regulatory relief during the effectivity of this Act for business entities by directing the SEC and other regulatory agencies to desist from imposing fines and other monetary penalties for non-filing, late filing, failure to comply with compulsory notification and other reportorial requirements relating to business activities and transactions that promote continuity and capacity-building in all sectors of the economy during the CQ;
(xxx) Enforcement of bed capacity allocation of government and private hospitals dedicated for COVID-19 response, as follows:
(1) During the surge of COVID-19 cases, at least thirty percent (30%) of all current authorized bed capacity of government hospitals or the number of beds corresponding to the need during the peak day of critical care capacity based on updated projections from a DOH-recognized epidemiologic projection model for COVID-19 shall be dedicated to accommodate and service COVID-19 patients; and
(2) During the surge of GOVID-19-cases, at least twenty percent (20%) of all current authorized bed capacity of private hospitals or the number of beds corresponding to the need during the peak day of critical care capacity based on updated projections from a DOH-recognized epidemiologic projection model for COVID-19 shall be dedicated to accommodate and service COVID-19 patients:
Provided, That the allocation of dedicated COVID-19 beds among the ICU, isolation, and ward beds shall consider the case distribution, profile and service capability of the health facility: Provided, further, That the assignment of dedicated COVID-19 beds within the network shall be equivalent to the corresponding percentages as provided herein: Provided, furthermore, That there is a formalized agreement among the health facilities in the network, such that for a network composed of both private and government hospitals, the dedicated COVID-19 beds shall be equivalent to at least thirty percent-(30%);
(yyy) Construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, and dormitories and expansion of capacities of public hospitals nationwide;
(zzz) Exemption of personal computers, laptops, tablets, or similar equipment appropriate for use in schools, donated for distribution to public schools regardless of level, including SUCs and vocational institutions under TESDA, from import duties and taxes, including donor's tax;
(aaaa) Realignment of the unused balance of the DepEd's 2020 "New School Personnel Positions" and "Basic Education Facilities" appropriations to the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) for "Operations of Schools - Elementary, Junior and Senior High School" under its "Support to Schools and Learners Program" for the hiring of teacher-assistants, and for the production or reproduction of modular learning materials for K-12;
(bbbb) Notwithstanding the provision of existing laws to the contrary, the net operating loss of the business or enterprise for taxable years 2020 and 2021 shall be carried over as a deduction from gross income for the next five (5) consecutive taxable years immediately following the year of such loss: Provided, That this subsection shall remain in effect even after the expiration of this Act; and
(cccc) Utilization of funds as provided in Section 10 of this Act.
(a) Thirteen billion five hundred million pesos (P13,500,000,000.00) for the following health-related responses:
(1) Continuous employment of existing emergency HRH and additional emergency HRH for hiring;
(2) Augmentation for operations of DOH Hospitals;
(3) Special risk allowance for all public and private health workers directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients for every month that they are serving during the state of national emergency as declared by the President;
(4) Actual hazard duty pay for all health workers serving in the front line during the state of national emergency as declared by the President;
(5) Free life insurance, accommodation, transportation and meals for all public and private health workers; and
(6) Compensation to public and private health workers who may contract mild or severe/critical COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty, and those who may die while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic;
(b) Three billion pesos (P3,000,000,000.00) for procurement of face masks, PPE, shoe covers and face shields to be provided to all local health workers, barangay officials, and other indigent persons that need protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19: Provided, That preference shall be given to products manufactured, produced, or made in the Philippines;
(c) Four billion five hundred million pesos (P4,500,000,000.00) to finance the construction of temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories for frontliners, and for the expansion of government hospital capacity all over the country;
(d) Thirteen billion pesos (P13,000,000,000.00) for the implementation of the following;
(1) Cash-for-work programs for displaced workers as may be necessary in the management of or response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as, but not limited to, TUPAD, CAMP and DOLE-AKAP for OFW; and
(2) Unemployment or involuntary separation assistance for displaced workers or employees, such as those in private health institutions, culture and arts, creative industry including, but not limited to, film and audiovisual workers, construction, public transportation, and trade and industries, cooperatives, and other sectors of the economy as may be identified by the DOLE, in coordination with the BIR, and SSS; freelancers, the self-employed and repatriated OFWs including OFWs whose deployment were suspended due to a government-imposed deployment ban;
(e) Thirty-nine billion four hundred seventy-two million five hundred thousand pesos (P39,472,500 )000.00) for the infusion of capital to GPIs to be allocated as follows:
(1) Five billion pesos (P5,000,000,000.00) for the credit guarantee program of the PhilGuarantee;
(2) Eighteen billion four hundred seventy-two million five hundred thousand pesos (P18,472,500,000.00) to support wholesale banking and equity infusion of the LBP for low interest loans to be extended to persons and entities engaged in industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
(3) Six billion pesos (P6,000,000,000.00) to support wholesale banking and equity infusion of the DBP for low interest loans to be extended to persons and entities engaged in industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; and
(4) Ten billion pesos (P10.000,000,000.00) as additional funding for the CAKES Program of the SBCorp and for its other lending programs, as well as interest subsidy, to be extended to MSMEs, cooperatives, hospitals, tourism industry, and OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and by other socioeconomic reversals;
(f) Twenty-four billion pesos (P24,000,000,000.00) to provide direct cash or loan interest rate subsidies, under the programs of the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) and other forms of assistance to qualified agri-fishery enterprises, fanners and fisherfolk registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), and agriculture cooperatives, to finance the Plant, Plant, Plant Program to ensure food security and continuous productivity in the agricultural sector including accessibility through farm to market roads;
(g) Nine billion five hundred million pesos (P9,500,000,000.00) to finance the following programs of the DOTr:
(1) Two billion six hundred four million pesos (P2,604,000,000.00) to assist the critically impacted businesses in the transportation industry;
(2) Five billion five hundred eighty million pesos (P5,580,000,000.00) to provide temporary livelihood to displaced workers in the industry through service contracting, regardless of quarantine levels, of public utility vehicles, as provided in this Act, as follows:
(i) Three billion pesos (P3,000,000,000.00) for public utility jeepney drivers; and
(ii) Two billion five hundred eighty million pesos (P2,580,000,000.00) for drivers of other public utility vehicles;
(3) One billion three hundred sixteen million pesos (P1,316,000,000.00) to develop accessible sidewalks and protected bicycle lanes, procurement of bicycles and related safety equipment for bicycle distribution, sharing and lending programs, and procurement of bicycle racks;
(h) One hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00) to finance the training and subsidies for tourist guides;
(i) Three billion pesos (P3,000,000,000.00) to assist SUCs in the development of smart campuses through investments in ICT infrastructure, acquisition of learning management systems and other appropriate equipment to fully implement flexible learning modalities;
(j) Six hundred million pesos (P600,000,000.00) for subsidies and allowances to qualified students of public and private elementary, secondary, and tertiary education institutions;
(k) Three hundred million pesos (P300,000,000.00) for subsidies and allowances of displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel, including part-time faculty, in private and public elementary, secondary, and tertiary education institutions including part-time faculty in SUCs;
(l) One billion pesos (Pl,000,000,000.00) as additional scholarship funds of TESDA under its Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) for the retooling, retraining, and upskilling of displaced workers including returning OFWs, as well as provision of tool kits under the STEP;
(m) Six billion pesos (P6,000,000,000.00) to finance DSWD programs such as, but not limited to, AICS, emergency subsidy to cater for areas which will be placed on granular lockdown, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) for informal sectors not being catered by DOLE, distribution of food and non-food items, livelihood assistance grants, and supplemental feeding program for daycare children: Provided, further, That funds of the AICS program can also be utilized to address COVID-19 response and recovery and to procure food packs subject to the existing circulars of DSWD;
(n) Four-billion pesos (P4,000,000,000.00) to assist the DepEd in the implementation of Digital Education, Information Technology (IT) and Digital Infrastructures and Alternative Learning Modalities, including printing and delivery of self-learning modules of the DepEd;
(o) One billion five hundred million pesos (Pl,500,000,000.00) as assistance to LGUs under the Local Government Support Fund (LGSF);
(p) One hundred eighty million pesos (P180,000,000.00) to finance the allowances for National Athletes and Coaches whose allowances were reduced due to the pandemic;
(q) Eight hundred twenty million pesos (PS20,000,000.00) for the augmentation of the Department of Foreign Affairs- Office of the Migrant Workers Affairs 2020 Assistance-to -Nationals Fund for repatriation-related expenses, shipment of remains and cremains of overseas Filipinos (OFs) who passed away due to COVID-19, medical assistance of OFs, and other assistance that may be provided for OFs who are affected by the pandemic;
(r) Four billion pesos (P4,000,000,000.00) for the tourism industry, to be distributed as follows:
(1) One billion pesos (Pl,000,000,000.00) for the Tourism Road Infrastructure Programs of DPWH; and
(2) Three billion pesos (P3.000,000,000.00) for the implementation of cash-for-work programs under DOLE and for the unemployment and involuntary separation assistance for displaced workers or employees;
(s) Four billion five hundred million pesos (P4,500,000,000.00) for construction and maintenance of isolation facilities including billing of hotels, food and transportation to be used for "'the COVID-19 response and recovery program by the Office of Civil Defense as the head of the National Task Force against COVID-19;
(t) Five billion pesos (P5,000,000,000.00), subject to Section 4(b) hereof, to finance the hiring of at least 50,000 contact tracers to be implemented by the DILG which shall include, but not limited to, recruitment, training, compensation, monitoring, logistics, and operational expenses;
(u) Two million five hundred thousand pesos (P2,500,000.00) for Professional Regulation Commission's computer-based licensure examination;
(v) Two billion pesos (P2,000,000,000.00) to subsidize the payment of interest on new and existing loans secured by the LGUs from LBP and DBP at One billion pesos (Pl,000,0O0,000) each;
(w) Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) for the HTAC research fund to provide for the commissioning of more COVID-19 research and enhance its internal capacity of evidence generation; and
(x) Fifteen million pesos (P15,000,000.00) for the establishment of a computational research laboratory in the University of the Philippines-Diliman Institute of Mathematics to process big data analysis for COVID-19 and other pandemic research.
In addition, a standby fund in the amount of Twenty-five billion five hundred twenty-seven million and five hundred thousand pesos (P25,527,500,000.00) is hereby authorized and shall be made available once additional funds are generated from savings and unused amounts to fund the following:
(1) Ten billion pesos (P10,000,000,000.00) for COVID-19 testing and procurement of COVID-19 medication and vaccine;
(2) Nine billion twenty-seven million and five hundred thousand pesos (P9,027,500,000.00) to support wholesale banking and equity infusion of the LBP for low interest loans to be extended to persons and entities engaged in industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
(3) Six billion five hundred million pesos (P6,000.000.000.00) to support wholesale banking and equity infusion of the DBP for low interest loans to be extended to persons and entities engaged in industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; and
(4) All other programs and activities authorized in this Act:
Provided, That the DBM shall submit reports on the releases made pursuant to this section as part of the monthly report as mandated in Section 14 of this Act.
The tax shall be computed on the peso equivalent of the foreign currency used, based on the prevailing official exchange rate at the time of payment, otherwise the same shall be considered as a fraudulent act constituting under declaration of taxable receipts or income, and shall be subject to interests, fines and penalties under Sections 248(B), 249(B), 253, and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines.
After two (2) years or upon a determination that the threat of COVID-19 has been successfully contained or abated, whichever comes first, the revenues derived from franchise taxes on gross bets or turnovers under paragraph (f) and income from non-gaming operations under paragraph (g) shall continue to be collected and shall accrue to the General Fund of the Government. The BIR shall implement closure orders against offshore gaming licensees, operators, agents, service providers and support providers who fail to pay the taxes due, and such entities shall cease to operate.
For this purpose, the Congress shall establish a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee composed of four (4) members of each House to be appointed by the Senate President and the House Speaker, respectively. This Committee shall determine whether such acts, orders, rules and regulations are within the restrictions provided herein.ℒαwρhi৷
This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1564 and House Bill No. 6953 was passed by the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives on August 20, 2020 and August 24, 2020, respectively.