THE Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) has been hailed as one of the best practices worldwide by any government as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A report released by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) last May lauded the Philippines’ efforts in its passage of Bayanihan 1, specifically its provisions “ensuring weekly reports on COVID-19 response actions” to oversee the landmark bill’s implementation.
The IBP is an independent watchdog advocating transparent, inclusive, and accountable government budget processes.
The report revealed that only four countries, including the Philippines, were rated as having an adequate level of accountability in early COVID fiscal policy responses. The other countries were Australia, Norway, and Peru.
Swiftly passed under the leadership of former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Bayanihan 1 was the country’s first economic recovery plan to help curb the impending effects of the pandemic.
Bayanihan 1 allowed the national government to reallocate, realign, and reprogram P275 billion from the annual budget in response to the pandemic.
The passage of Bayanihan 1 likewise provided for the purchase of testing kits and medical supplies, as well as the building of quarantine facilities and isolation centers for those suspected to have contracted the virus.
Together with Bayanihan 2, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, it formed the backbone of former Speaker Cayetano’s efforts to usher the country into the better normal.