P1.5-T infra plan to curb unemployment okayed

May 30, 2020

The House Defeat Covid-19 Committee has approved a measure proposing a PHP1.5-trillion plan to build infrastructure over the next three years to reduce the impact of an economic downturn and the possibility of unemployment amid the coronavirus disease  crisis.

The panel unanimously approved House Bill 6709, or the proposed Covid-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus Act, which seeks to establish a special fund to finance infrastructure projects across these priority areas--Health, Education, Agriculture, and Local Roads/Infrastructure and Livelihood.

The proposed P1.5-trillion CURES fund shall be made available for three fiscal years with P500 billion scheduled to be appropriated every year.

Under the bill, government infrastructure spending would be primarily geared towards maximizing the direct and indirect creation and sustaining of jobs, particularly in the  countryside.

The proposal shall be undertaken in conjunction with the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program”.

Among the proposed projects include barangay health centers, municipal and city hospitals, digital equipment for testing, “telehealth’ services and e-prescriptions, post-harvest facilities, bagsakan centers, and food terminals.

Other infrastructure projects are to be funded like walking or bicycle lanes, bridges across creeks and irrigation canals, evacuation centers, and disaster emergency facilities, and roads going to tourist spots, beaches, mountain parks, new business districts, or economic zones, and hubs for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano co-authored the bill with Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speakers Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Paolo Duterte, and Loren Legarda, House committee on appropriations chair Eric Yap, House committee on public accounts chair Michael Defensor, House committee on good government and public accountability chair Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, and Taguig City-Pateros Rep. Lani Cayetano.