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Solon proposes P370-B stimulus package to cushion COVID-19 economic blow

Marikina City Representative Stella Luz Quimbo is proposing a P370-billion fiscal stimulus package to address the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis on the country's economy.

Quimbo presented her proposal, which she called the "Economy Moving Forward as One Act," on Tuesday during the virtual meeting of the Economic Stimulus Package subcommittee of the Defeat COVID-19 ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives.

"Ang layunin ng House bill na ito ay palakasin ang ekonomiya, siguraduhin na walang magsara na negosyo lalo na ang mga maliliit," Quimbo said during her presentation.

"Ang pinakamahalagang layunin [nito] ay para masiguradong walang mawawalan ng trabaho at mababawasan ang kita," she added.

According to Quimbo, her proposal primarily aims to ensure that businesses will continue to operate after the COVID-19 crisis by offering compensation for payroll costs during the community quarantines, capacity building to enable businesses to recover, zero interest loans to boost liquidity, and "proportional" assistance.

Under her proposal, subsidies, grants, loans and other forms of assistance to businesses amounting to a total of P370 billion will be provided, of which P110 billion is allotted for private businesses whose operations were put on halt during the enhanced community quarantine but continued to shoulder payroll costs.

Meanwhile, P1 billion will be for employees who had contracted COVID-19 to ensure that their sick leaves are fully paid, and P100 billion for government financial institutions to capacitate them further to help the private sector in managing their loans.

A total of P50 billion, on the other hand, will be allocated for micro, small, and medium-scale establishments, P43 billion will be for all sectors who are part of the tourism industry, and the remaining P66 billion will be for exporters or importers particularly in the manufacturing sector.

"[If] the government fixes the wheels of the economy, ensure business continuity, this way, we protect the Filipino worker. Let's flatten the curve, not the economy," Quimbo said.

Earlier, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman also proposed a P1-trillion stimulus package to enable the government to continue providing assistance to people and businesses affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

As of Tuesday, there are a total of 5,223 cases of COVID-19 reported in the Philippines, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries.  -MDM, GMA News