Stimulus package bill backed

THE House Minority group expressed full support for the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (PESA), which is set to get final approval before Congress adjournment sine die.

Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Bienvenido "Benny" Abante Jr. said the P1.3  trillion-PESA is necessary to address the economic slowdown due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and have no choice but to return to the Philippines.

Abante said the pandemic is causing the Philippine economy to bleed.

"Matindi ang epekto nito hindi lang sa ekonomiya natin, kundi sa ekonomiya at negosyo sa ibang bansa. "Sinabi nung isang arawni DILG Sec. Añonaine-expect natin na uuwi ang mahigit na 300,000 na OFW––ito po ay population ng isang maliitna probinsya,” Abante said.

For perspective, there are 16 provinces in the country with a population of less than 300,000.

“Ganun karami po ang uuwi dito, at karamihan sa kanila wala pong trabaho," the legislator explained.

The solon pointed out that the package includes wage subsidies totaling P110 billion for critical businesses, the self-employed, freelancers and OFWs and "will help small businesses and numerous industries stay afloat so that they can continue to employ workers––workers who need their wages to feed and support their families."

"Kaya napakaimportante po ang stimulus package na ito. This is why we wholeheartedly support this measure,” he said.

"It is clear that in these trying times, every job matters. Each person who loses his job is one family that goes hungry. Kita nyo naman sa latest SWS survey on hunger, dumoble po ang bilang ng pamilya na nagutom sa kalagitnaan ng ECQ," the solon added.

The latest SWS survey shows that the number of families that experienced involuntary hunger rose from 2.1 million in December 2019 to 4.2 million families in the first week of May, despite the fact that 99 percent of the respondents polled said they received food aid from the government.