SONA hoped to include economy revival plans

HOUSE Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera is expecting President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to lay down concrete plans to address coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) and revive the pandemic-ravaged economy, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) this Monday.

“I can safely say that Congress is one with President Duterte in pushing for measures that would protect the public from COVID-19 and resuscitate our ailing economy at the same time,” Herrera said.

“Public health and economic recovery should go hand in hand as we continue to fight this pandemic,” she added.

Herrera said she was hoping the President would push for the swift passage of the “much needed and long overdue” stimulus package designed to boost the economy and give aid to hard-hit workers and industries.

“It is our fervent hope that the President would certify as urgent the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy or ARISE bill, which contains a P1.3 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 crisis,” Herrera said.

According to the party-list lawmaker, the ARISE bill will help prevent more businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), from closing permanently.

“A lot of businesses have already closed forever and we cannot afford to see more in the coming days because it also means that more people are losing their jobs,” Herrera said.

The ARISE bill seeks to protect and assist up to 15.7 million workers and create 3 million short-term jobs over the period of three years, and help up to 5.57 million workers at MSMEs.

For this year alone, the spending plan includes assistance to various sectors such as MSMEs (P10 billion); tourism (P58 billion); industry and services (P44 billion); transportation (P70 billion); agri-fisheries (P66 billion); and funding for the National Emergency Investment Vehicle (P25 billion) to “minimize permanent damage to the economy.”