P500-B yearly recovery fund sought in Villafuerte-authored House bill

Camarines Sur-based congressmen are batting for a three-year Covid-19 pandemic recovery program would allow the release of P500 billion each year as a form of economic stimulus.

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte (Facebook)

Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte led the filing of House Bill (HB) No.271, which seeks the appropriation of P1.5 trillion for the National Economic Stimulus and Recovery Fund.

The authors described the fund as a "lasting cure for economic resilience" following the pandemic's impact on the local economy.

“Infrastructure shall be the backbone of our economy following the insight of almost all respected economists and recognized policymakers. Therefore, although palliative measures such as cash transfers, unemployment dole-outs, relief, and other forms of immediate amelioration support are undoubtedly necessary now, it is in the interest of the government, the private sector, and the Filipino people at large that a lasting cure for economic resilience be established,” they stressed in the bill.

According to Villafuerte, the proposed P1.5-trillion stimulus package "will let President BBM (Bongbong Marcos) sustain and even expand the unmatched high spending on infrastructure development initiated by his predecessor, Duterte, while focusing such fresh investments on building and improving facilities for the new government’s priority areas that Mr. Marcos had listed in his first SONA (State of the Nation Address), including the HEAL IT sectors of Health, Education, Agriculture, Livelihood, Information Technology (IT) and Tourism".

Under the proposed P1.5-trillion, three-year recovery fund, P500 billion shall be released on the first year of this measure’s approval, another P500 billion on the second year, and P500 billion more on the third and final year.

The authors said their proposed multi-year economic stimulus plan is similar to pandemic recovery packages rolled out by other countries like the United States (US), member-states of the European Union (EU), South Korea, and Thailand.

Earlier, Villafuerte lauded President Marcos for putting agriculture, health, and tourism on his must-do list of what the government will focus on to stimulate high growth, improve the lives of Filipinos, and mitigate economic scarring from the global crisis caused by the pandemic.

"Putting farm modernization plus productivity, public healthcare, and tourism infrastructure, among others, on front and center of the Marcos administration over the medium term will let President BBM achieve his SONA-announced target to raise economic growth to 6.5 percent to 8 percent from 2023 to 2028, and his ‘Bayan Bangon Muli’ presidential campaign promise to uplift the lives of all Filipinos," the former deputy speaker said.

Villafuerte, who is vice president for political affairs of the National Unity Party (NUP), filed HB No.271 along with Camarines Sur Reps Miguel Luis Villafuerte (5th district) and Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata (1st district), and Bicol Saro Party-List Rep. Nicolas Enciso VIII.