MANILA – A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Wednesday said the passage of the proposed PHP1.3-trillion Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) bill is the needed “surgery” to help the Philippine economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a press conference, House economic cluster co-chair and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo said the pandemic-induced recession requires a proportionate response to help the country bounce back by 2021.

The government reported a 16.5-percent economic contraction in the second quarter, deeper than the revised -0.7 percent in the previous three months and the lowest since 1981.

“The economic managers now estimate that the economy will contract by 5.5 percent overall in 2020. This means we stand to lose PHP2.4 trillion in output. To avert that loss, we need a stimulus of PHP1.5 trillion,” Quimbo said.

She said the country needs clear plan to defeat the Covid-19 which already infected 143,749 people in the country as of August 12.

“But unless we put a handle on our Covid situation, we will have to keep adjusting the amount needed for economic stimulus,” she said.

Quimbo urged the country’s economic managers to support the ARISE bill as a Bayanihan Part 3.

“Sa ngayon po, surgery na ang kailangan sa sugat ng ekonomiya; First aid ang Bayanihan 1, Emergency Room ang Bayanihan 2, pero di ito sapat para buhayin ang ekonomiya (Right now, surgery is needed for the economic wound. Bayanihan 1 [Bayanihan to Heal as One Act] is the first aid, Bayanihan 2 [Bayanihan to Recover as One bill] is the emergency room, but these are not enough to revive the economy),” she said. “May the ARISE bill arise as Bayanihan 3.”

She said the ARISE bill contains a comprehensive plan to address the economic crisis, with an allocation of PHP1.3 trillion over three years.

According to the lawmaker, the bill gives special attention to small businesses that are most in need of resources in order to stay afloat, with PHP60 billion allocated for loans and assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises under the Department of Trade and Industry and Small Business Corp.

She noted that the proposal also provides assistance for critically-affected sectors such as tourism, transport and manufacturing-exporting sectors.

She said the House-approved ARISE bill has been the subject of extensive consultations with the private sector, regulators and the academe and further validated with data.

“At this point, Congress has done the hard work — the Executive need not look far to find a suitable plan of action,” she said. (PNA)