House approves P1.5-trillion economic stimulus bill

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A MEASURE that seeks to provide P1.5 trillion to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas for three years was approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading Friday, June 5.

In its plenary session Friday, House Bill (HB) no. 6920 or the Covid-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (Cures) bill received 210 yes votes, 7 no votes, and no abstention.

If passed into law, the bill would allot P 1.5 trillion to fund for three years the infrastructure projects related to agriculture, education, health, livelihood, and local roads.

The infrastructure projects would also include digital equipment for Covid-19 testing, telemedicine services, farm-to-market roads, barangay health centers, trading centers, and municipal and city health facilities.

A P500-billion fund will be disbursed annually for three fiscal years.

Upon filing the bill, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. said infrastructure is a critical factor in allowing private businesses and individuals to prosper through production of goods and services.

“What we need now are small scale basic infrastructure, technical facilities and systems built at the community level that are critical for sustenance and livelihood of the community in the next 60 to 90 days once the CURES Act of 2020 is passed,” Villafuerte said.

“Any other budget at this point should be geared towards health. Saving the lives of our people is our utmost priority. But admittedly, our hospital to bed ratio is vey low, so now is the time to put money in the barangays so that it would be directly felt by the people and it would automatically create jobs,” he added.

Aside from Villafuerte, other authors of the bill are House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Deputy Speakers Paolo Duterte and Loren Legarda, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, and Representatives Eric Yap, Mike Defensor, Jose Sy-Alvarado, and Lani Cayetano. (SunStar Philippines)


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