The House of Representatives' Defeat COVID-19 Committee on Tuesday approved three bills—including a P1.3-trillion economic stimulus measure to restart the economy and protect the people, especially medical frontliners.
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, co-chairman of the DCC along with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, said the various clusters of the DCC had been working very hard to address the economic meltdown and to ensure that people’s rights were protected during the outbreak.
“These measures are not the panacea to all our problems. But these pieces of legislation may be considered as the next step in our calibrated response to ease the suffering of our people,” Romualdez told the DCC’s virtual hearing via Zoom.
“But we all know that these doles are not forever. We have to jumpstart our economic activities while keeping our people healthy to ensure our survival as a nation.”
Romualdez also stressed the need to enact House Bill 6709, the COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus Act that would quickly provide jobs to those displaced by the pandemic.
"When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, government efforts were focused on containing the spread of the virus and saving lives through necessary quarantine measures. The speed and magnitude of the collapse in our economic activity was unlike any other that we have experienced in our lifetime," Romualdez said during the Social Amelioration Cluster Meeting on HB 7609.
The Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development, meanwhile, has approved a P10-billion stimulus package for housing developers.
Secretary Eduardo del Rosario approved in principle an additional P8-billion stimulus package proposed by the Pag-IBIG Fund's Home Development Mutual Fund to help partner-developers cope with the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon the motion of Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo, the DCC approved the report of the Economic Stimulus Response Package Subcommittee co-led by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo and AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin on the economic stimulus.
Garin said the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act, or the P1.3-trillion economic stimulus measure, would be implemented in the coming years.
The measure was co-authored by at least 260 lawmakers.
Said Romualdez: “We are fortunate that the best minds of the 18th Congress have wracked their brains for the past weeks for this purpose. The approval of the economic stimulus package will ensure the availability of jobs and the continuity of business for millions of Filipinos. It is a stimulus program that seeks to restore our economic growth, maintain employment levels and expand the country's productive capacity.”
The economic stimulus program is meant to ensure business operations and job retention during the pandemic. An estimated 4.1-million employees from the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises are expected to benefit under the economic stimulus package by rescuing their troubled companies.
The DCC also approved the report of House committee on banks and financial intermediaries chairman and Quirino Rep. Junie Cua Jr. on the proposed “Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Law or FIST.
House Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Rimpy Bondoc's motion paved the way for the approval of the report.
“The FIST measure seeks to strengthen the financial sector in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis through the rehabilitation of distressed businesses and improving the liquidity of the financial system,” Romualdez said.
The measure aims to help financial institutions in their bad debt resolution and the management of their non-performing assets to cushion the effects of the pandemic on their financial operations. As a result of the pandemic and the disruption of economic activities, most financial Institutions are facing delayed loan collections and are at risk of recording higher NPAs across all borrower segments.
The DCC, through the motion of Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, also endorsed for plenary approval the report of the Peace and Order cluster co-led by Iloilo Rep. Raul Tupas, Masbate Rep. Narciso Bravo Jr., and Quezon City Rep. Jesus Suntay Jr. on the Anti-Discrimination Bill principally sponsored by Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte.
“While boosting our country's economic potential, we also approved a bill that aims to protect the life and limb of our health who are now workers on the frontline of our war against COVID-19. We are moving to grant them full and inviolable protection against all forms of prejudice and discrimination as they continue to provide medical care, logistical and service support to our people in this age of pandemic,” Romualdez said.
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