Gordon calls for immediate passage of RICH bill

Published September 5, 2021, 1:20 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday, Sept. 4 urged lawmakers to expedite the passage of the bill that would encourage the entry of more investments in Central Luzon.

Gordon is referring to Senate Bill No. 1549 or the Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub (RICH) of Central Luzon which he believes would help hasten the country’s swift economic recovery from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As cases of COVID-19 soar due to the Delta variant, more and more people are mired in poverty. In this bill, we are aiming high again for the country in the middle of the pandemic,” Gordon said.

“As they said, out of every crisis, there is opportunity. We need a quick start,” he added.

The proposed creation of the RICH aims to take advantage of the strategic infrastructures in Central Luzon as international transportation centers that connect the expansive areas in the region to attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs).

The Senate and House of Representatives approved the RICH bill during the 17th Congress but President Duterte vetoed it.

According to Gordon, once passed into law, the measure would serve as an economic engine of growth as well as promote and encourage entrepreneurships and create various jobs and business opportunities for the Filipino people.

Citing an April 2021 Labor Force Survey, the lawmaker noted that the Philippines is experiencing a slow fiscal progress while the unemployment rate stood at 8.7 percent, rendering 4.11 million Filipinos jobless.

The report also showed that poverty incidence is also stuck at 21 percent.

Gordon said passage of the bill into law would help cushion the negative impact of the pandemic as it presents a “golden opportunity” for the government to bring in more investments because China has started to lose foreign investors.

“We need to create new opportunities for our people so they can find livelihood opportunities and prosper. I have always advocated for this my whole life: work, save, invest and prosper. It is better to know where we are going than not know how,” he stressed.