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Bayanihan 3: Stella Quimbo proposes P400B fresh funding for COVID-19 fight

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Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo has filed a measure seeking P400 billion to boost the government’s COVID-19 response, which has been complicated by three successive typhoons that battered most parts of Luzon.

Quimbo said in House Bill No. 8031, or the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act that the additional funding could be used for the government’s social amelioration program, rehabilitate areas damaged by natural calamities, sustain delivery of basic goods and services, implement high-impact infrastructure projects, assist businesses to keep them afloat, and bring the economy on the right track.

“Malaki po ang itutulong ng Bayanihan III sa pagbangon ng bansa – dagdag at mas matibay na mga programang may halagang 400 billion pesos. Rescue boat ito sa Pilipinong binabaha ng krisis. Sisiguruhin ng Bayanihan III na sapat ang pondo para sa mga kritikal na programa at tama ang plano para sa mas matatag na ekonomiya,” she said.

Under the proposed P4.5-trillion budget for 2021, Quimbo said only P248 billion has been allotted for pandemic response. She said the projection of the country’s economic manager of a decline of 5.5 percent in the economy is “highly unlikely” considering the contraction of 11.5 percent in the third quarter and 16.9 percent in the second quarter, based on November 10 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“Napakaliit nito kumpara sa laki ng nawawala sa atin. Tila nagbibigay lang ng tayo ng paracetamol para magpagaling ng cancer. Hindi makakabangon ang Pilipinas mula sa bagyo at pandemya kung ganito kaliit ang pondo natin laban sa sakuna,” said Quimbo, an economist.

The Marikina lawmaker’s bill also includes calamity intervention measures such as cash-for-work, emergency subsidies, adequate infrastructure funds for typhoon-stricken areas, among others.