MANILA – The House Defeat Covid-19 Committee on Thursday approved a measure proposing a PHP1.5-trillion plan to build infrastructure over the next three years to reduce the impact of an economic downturn and the possibility of unemployment amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.
The panel unanimously approved House Bill 6709, or the proposed Covid-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act, which seeks to establish a special fund to finance infrastructure projects across these priority areas–Health, Education, Agriculture, and Local Roads/Infrastructure and Livelihood (HEAL).
The proposed PHP1.5-trillion CURES fund shall be made available for three fiscal years with PHP500 billion scheduled to be appropriated every year.
Under the bill, government infrastructure spending shall be primarily geared towards maximizing the direct and indirect creation and sustaining of jobs, particularly in the Philippine rural countryside.
The proposal shall be undertaken in conjunction with the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program”.
Among the proposed projects include barangay health centers, municipal and city hospitals, digital equipment for testing, “telehealth’ services and e-prescriptions, post-harvest facilities, bagsakan centers, and food terminals.
Other infrastructure projects shall be funded like walking or bicycle lanes, bridges across creeks and irrigation canals, evacuation centers, and disaster emergency facilities, and roads going to tourist spots, beaches, mountain parks, new business districts, or economic zones, and hubs for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano co-authored the bill with Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speakers Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Paolo Duterte, and Loren Legarda, House committee on appropriations chair Eric Yap, House committee on public accounts chair Michael Defensor, House committee on good government and public accountability chair Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, and Taguig City-Pateros Rep. Lani Cayetano. (PNA)