Diokno backs multi-year stimulus package

Published July 23, 2020, 9:08 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno on Thursday expressed willingness to support the proposed Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (ARISE) Act if lawmakers make it a  multi-year stimulus package by providing funds in the national budget.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno

He said this during the House Committee on Affairs’ virtual forum on “Build Back Better: Economic Resilience After COVID, The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Initiatives to Foster Philippine Economic Resilience.”

“It is not that I do not agree. I think the ARISE (Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines) Bill should be seen as like a multi-year fiscal plan to address the pandemic.  If you put it that way, alam mo ang maganda doon (you know it is better if) , you can make that known to the Executive Department kasi hindi ko naman area yun (that is not my area),  sabihin niyo na (tell them), ‘Look, we should set aside a fixed sum of money para dito sa ganito (this particular item), for the rest of the year, for 2021. Ganito kasi hindi naman ito matatapos within one year di ba? (Because this will not end within a year, right?) Mas maganda (It is better) you convert as some kind of a multi-year fiscal plan for pandemic,” Diokno told the panel after Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo asked him if he disagreed with the amount proposed under ARISE Philippines Bill, which is P1.3 trillion.

The proposed ARISE Philippines Act or House Bill No. 6815 was passed by the House of Representatives last June 4.

“I noticed it is not in your list of priority legislation. So I was wondering, do you think that the amount we are proposing is probably not appropriate amount? Kasi napansin ko po na kasama sa priorities ninyo yung (Because I noticed among those included in your priorities are) Bayanihan to Heal to As One [2] which I think proposes P140 billion. So I just wanted to ask if kaya ba hindi ba nabanggit ang ARISE bill (the ARISE bill was not mentioned), maybe, you don’t agree with the amount that we are proposing,” Quimbo asked.

She noted that the P1.3 trillion they proposed under ARISE is the same amount as the BSP’s liquidity injection to the financial system to cushion the impact of COVID-19 to the economy.

“I think that would be very helpful, pag naipasa yun (if that is passed). I think obligado naman ang (the)  Executive (will be obliged) on an annual basis, ire-reflect nya yun sa budget (they will reflect that in the budget) so sigurado pa kayo (you will be sure), you don’t have to identify the source kung nakalagay sa budget (if it is included in the budget)  hindi na kailangan ng (there is no need for) additional funding source. To me, that is the beauty of what you have done. Kung mahihimay mo talaga (If you can dissect)  kung magkano ang gagastusin (how much will be spent) this year, magkano (how much) next year, I endorse that,” Diokno told the panel chaired by AAMBIS-OWA partylist Rep. Sharon Garin

During his presentation,  Diokno said the legislative priorities of BSP are as follows: Amendment to Republic Act No. 1405 and 6426, the laws pertaining to secrecy of bank deposits; Amendment to RA 9510 or the Credit Information System Act;  Amendment to RA 10000 or the Agri-Agra Law; Financial Consumer Protection Bill; Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Bill; Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE)  Bill; and Bayanihan 2 (Recover as One Act).

In the same forum, Diokno said there is no need to sell government properties at this point to procure the COVID-19 vaccines for all 110 million Filipinos.

“Hindi po natin kailangan magbenta ng asset para makaavail ng bakuna (We don’t need to sell government asset just to avail the vaccine). Nagbibiro lang po si President (The President is just kidding), we are not that in that mode,” he said, citing that the country’s “sound and stable” banking system.

President Duterte had earlier expressed readiness to borrow money and sell government properties to purchase vaccines to immunize all Filipinos against the coronavirus disease.