Sat. Apr 17th, 2021

MANILA – A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Thursday filed a measure seeking to allocate PHP108 billion for a fiscal stimulus package to address the economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In filing House Bill 6606, Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo said government revenues, according to the Department of Finance, would likely decline by PHP91 billion if the Covid-19 spread continues until June.

Quimbo also cited the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), stating that the economic output of the country may be reduced by 0.3 to 1.0 percentage point for 2020 if the outbreak persists.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, 1 percent of the gross domestic product is about PHP186 billion.

“A stimulus package of PHP108 billion will compensate for this expected loss, considering multiplier effects, and help keep our economy on track throughout the year,” she said.

“This package may be funded through the GAA (General Appropriations Act) contingency fund and unspent funds from the previous year,” she added.

Under the proposed Economic Rescue Plan for Covid-19, the fiscal stimulus package shall be broken down as follows: PHP43 billion for assistance and promotion of the tourism sector, PHP15 billion for unemployment assistance, and PHP50 billion for assistance for business, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises, which includes loan packages and subsidies.

Quimbo said the estimated effects of the crisis on labor include rendering more than 30,000 to 60,000 workers unemployed in the tourism sector, which is estimated to lose PHP42.9 billion in revenue from February to April.

“Clearly, there is a need to provide assistance to businesses that have experienced or are expected to experience substantial losses as a result of Covid-19, and provide sufficient safety nets and immediate assistance to workers who have lost their livelihood from the aforementioned losses,” she said.

“Sa pamamagitan po ng agad- agad na paglalabas ng pondo ay maaayudahan po natin ang mga manggagawa at negosyante habang nilalabanan naman din ng gobyerno at private sector ang Covid-19. Infected man o hindi, sama-sama nating dama ang epekto ng sakit na ito (Though the immediate release of funds, we could offer assistance to workers and businessmen, as the government and private sector combat Covid-19. Infected or not, we are all affected by the effects of this disease),” she added.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health confirmed that a 67-year-old Filipino woman is the second Covid-19 death in the country while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 49. (PNA)

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