P108-B fund vs virus

A SOLON from Metro Manila has filed a measure proposing to allocate P108 billion for a fiscal stimulus package to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo yesterday filed House Bill 6606 or the Economic Rescue Plan for COVID-19.

The amount will be used to save the economy that is starting to get hurt due to lower economic activity as brought by the COVID-19 scare.

As of now there are 49 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, with two fatalities, and many more are undergoing observation.

“As we take precautions to contain this disease, our economy is expected to take a hit due to lower economic activity,” Quimbo said.

In particular, the Department of Tourism estimates that the tourism sector will lose P42.9 billion in revenue from February to April.

For the economy as a whole, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) estimates that if the outbreak persists, it may reduce economic output by 0.3 to 1.0 percent for 2020, Quimbo noted.

Under her proposal, the P108 stimulus package will be broken down to P43 billion for assistance and promotion of the tourism sector, P15 billion for unemployment assistance, and P50 billion for assistance for business, particularly MSMEs, which includes loan packages and subsidies.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, 1 percent of our Gross Domestic Product is about P186 billion.

Quimbo pointed out that a stimulus package of P108 billion will compensate for this expected loss, considering multiplier effects, and help keep the economy on track throughout the year.

“Sa pamamagitan po ng agad-agad na paglalabas ng pondo ay maaayudahan po natin ang mga manggagawa at negosyante habang nilalabanan naman din ng gobyerno at private sector ang COVID-19,” the lady solon said.

“Infected man o hindi, sama-sama nating dama ang epekto ng sakit na ito. The economic impact of the disease may only be nursed if we maximize Congress’ power of the purse,” she added.