House panel approves P1.3-T economic stimulus package

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

May 26, 2020, 1:19 pm

MANILA – The House Defeat Covid-19 Committee (DCC) approved on Tuesday an economic stimulus package worth around PHP1.3 trillion to help the economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, the chairperson of the DCC, said the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (PESA) aims to restore economic growth, maintain employment levels, and expand the productive capacity of the country in the aftermath of Covid-19.

“The economic stimulus program is meant to ensure business operations and job retention in this time of Covid-19 pandemic,” Romualdez said.

The bill seeks to mandate immediate mass testing for Covid-19 with an allocation of PHP10 billion for this year and another PHP10 billion next year.

Wage subsidies worth PHP110 billion shall be granted to non-essential businesses, freelancers, the self-employed, and repatriated overseas Filipino workers.

PHP30 billion shall be allocated for the cash for work program of the Department of Labor and Employment.

The bill shall also provide allocations for loans for various sectors, which include:

- loans for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) worth P50 billion for 2020 and PHP45 billion for 2021 under the Small Business Corporation;

- interest-free loans worth PHP50 billion under the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP);

- and loan guarantee amounting to PHP40 billion by the Philippine Guarantee Corporation.

Other forms of assistance shall receive funding under the bill, including PHP10 billion as additional assistance for MSMEs this year; PHP58 billion for the tourism industry; PHP75 billion for the transportation industry; PHP44 billion for the manufacturers, importers, exporters, and service sectors; and PHP66 billion for the agri-fishery sector.

PHP25 billion shall be allotted this year and another P25 billion next year to the National Development Company (NDC) in order to minimize permanent damage to the economy and enable faster recovery of certain critically-impacted businesses.

The proposed bill will also include an enhanced "Build, Build, Build" program worth PHP650 billion in three years starting 2021. (PNA)