Press Release
May 27, 2020

On Economic Stimulus

SENATE President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said government needs to put a premium in rebuilding the economy once it relaxes current strict community quarantines that have been imposed to minimize the health impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In response to this need, Sotto has filed Senate Bill No. 1542 seeking to "establish an economic stimulus strategy for the country's growth and development" in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In order to offset and mitigate the damages that COVID-19 brought to our country, measures should be put in place through legislative enactments. Since the intent of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act is to cushion the effects of COVID-19 to the country's health system and to its citizens... it did not cover the economic effect of this pandemic," Sotto said as he pushed for the immediate approval of his proposed measure.

Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, who is Sotto's party mate at the Nationalist People"s Coalition (NPC), has filed a similar measure at the House of Representatives.

SBN 1542 proposes a stimulus program to "restore economic growth, maintain employment levels, and expand the productive capacity of the country."

It's salient features include: mandatory immediate mass testing for COVID-19; wage subsidies to non-essential businesses, freelancers, self-employed and repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs); expansion of the Tertiary Education subsidy provided under Republic Act 10931 to include students whose families are now facing financial difficulties due to the various community quarantines, and waiving of registration and other related fees and the grant of special trading accommodations for a limited time to micro, small and medium enterprises plus start-ups (MSMEs+).

The measure likewise directs the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines to establish a Special Interest Free Loan Fund and provide interest-free loans to non-essential businesses and MSMEs+.

Sotto likewise wants the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its sub-agencies to assist critically impacted DOT-accredited tourism enterprises.

Sotto said the country's economic base could collapse if urgent measures are not set in place the soonest time possible.

"Our situation could get worst if our government will not act swiftly," he said with concern.

"Lawmakers need to work fast in giving back life to our economy. We cannot dilly-dally until the last minute. Measures to help revive businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis should be enacted with haste to prevent the economy from total collapse," Sotto said.

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