The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading Monday night a bill extending the effectivity of the COVID-19 appropriations under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 to June 30, 2021.

Voting 179-6 with no abstention, the Velasco-led chamber passed House Bill 8063 seeking to extend the validity of Bayanihan 2 under Republic Act 11494, which is set to expire on December 19.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco noted that the legislative chamber gave its final approval to House Bill 8063, just hours after it received a correspondence from Malacañang that the measure had been certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“We cannot agree more with President Duterte on the need to extend the effectivity of Bayanihan 2 in order to accelerate the country’s socioeconomic recovery from the adverse impact brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Velasco, one of the principal authors of the measure.

House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Committee on Appropriations Chair Eric Yap and Committee on Accounts Chair Paolo “Pulong” Duterte are also principal authors of the bill.

Bayanihan 2, which provides for a stimulus package of P140 billion in regular appropriation and P25 billion as standby fund, is set to expire on December 19, with a huge portion of the allocation has yet to be released.

If not extended, the government will have to release the remaining funds by December 19, or else the funds will revert to the Bureau of Treasury.

Velasco said the President’s certification allowed the House to act on the measure with urgency, passing the bill on final reading right after approving it on second reading, thus doing away with the usual three-day gap between the two steps.