House panel OKs P568-B economic stimulus package
MANILA, Philippines — To cushion the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the House of Representatives’ Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC) on Tuesday approved a P568 billion economic stimulus package for 2020 which includes a budget for massive testing.
Under the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (PESA), a P10 billion budget is allocated for massive testing which seeks to “alleviate ‘fear factor’” among the public since “without testing, workers will not go to work, consumers won’t go out and businesses won’t open.”
The bill likewise provides P110 billion budget in wage subsidies under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and P30 billion for “cash for work” under the DOLE-Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).
A P15 billion budget is also allocated to assist students affected by the pandemic.
In terms of businesses’ financial capability, P50 billion is provided for loans for micro, small, and medium enterprises and P50 billion for zero-interest loans under the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Funds are also provided to assist “critically impacted sectors” such as MSMEs (P10 billion), tourism (P58 billion), industry and service sectors (P44 billion), transportation (P70 billion) and agriculture (P56 billion).
A P25 billion budget for the National Development Corp. is also included in the proposal.
For the year 2021, the bill proposes an additional P10 billion for massive testing and P25 billion for loans for MSMEs, among others.
Another P650 billion budget for the enhanced implementation of the national government’s “Build, Build, Build” project is also proposed which shall be included in the budget for three years starting 2021.
As of May 25, there are 14,319 COVID-19 cases in the country, with the death toll at 873 and recoveries at 3,323.
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