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Senate urged to pass P1.5 trillion stimulus bill
The CURES bill (House Bill No. 6920), passed on third and final reading in June last year, seeks allocation of P500 billion for three years for programs anchored on infrastructure spending and job creation, especially in the provinces.
STAR/Boy Santos, file

Senate urged to pass P1.5 trillion stimulus bill

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The author of the Coronavirus Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) in the House of Representatives has called on the Senate to immediately pass the P1.5-trillion stimulus measure to pump prime the economy amid a recession caused by the pandemic.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte urged senators to immediately pass the proposed measure formulated to aid economic recovery through infrastructure spending and job creation as the country’s recovery from the pandemic appears slower than its neighbors.

The CURES bill (House Bill No. 6920), passed on third and final reading in June last year, seeks allocation of P500 billion for three years for programs anchored on infrastructure spending and job creation, especially in the provinces.

It was crafted to address the impact of the community quarantine – implemented by the government to combat the disease beginning March 2020 – and aims to gear state infrastructure spending “towards maximizing the direct and indirect creation and preservation of jobs” in the countryside.

“In light of the somber forecasts by various international financial institutions that the Philippine economy is heading for a slow recovery, partly because of the government’s relatively smaller fiscal stimulus package, I am appealing to our senators to consider passing the House-approved CURES bill,” he said.

Villafuerte said enacting the law would reset the stalled economy back on its pre-pandemic high-growth path.

It would also serve as an initial booster for President Duterte’s new initiative – the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program – to decongest Metro Manila by creating a lot more infrastructure jobs in the countryside, he said.

The congressman said greater economic activity resulting from higher infrastructure spending “would boost business and consumer confidence and generate a lot of jobs to offset those that were lost following last year’s economic standstill.”

The measure also seeks to dramatically increase government spending not just on major infrastructure projects but also on health, education, agriculture, local roads infrastructure and livelihood (HEAL) programs.

The bulk of infrastructure projects outlined in the bill would be undertaken in conjunction with the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” program initiated by Sen. Bong Go and later institutionalized by President Duterte with the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 114.

Under the bill, the CURES fund would be available for a wide gamut of projects ranging from barangay health centers and municipal and city hospitals to digital equipment for testing, tele-health services and e-prescriptions to post-harvest facilities, bagsakan centers and food terminals, among others.

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

Funding would likewise be available for projects like farm-to-market roads, roads connecting communities to schools and health facilities; along with the Enhanced Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Enhanced Tupad Program and Barangay Emergency Employment Program of the Department of Labor and Employment and access of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises to credit and financing.

CURES SENATE STIMULUS BILL
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