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Drilon expects Duterte to deliver clear masterplan for COVID-19 in 5th SONA

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said he expects President Rodrigo Duterte to announce a clear action plan of the government to save more lives and revive the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Unang-una, ang opposition is willing to cooperate sa administration tungkol sa pandemic na ating hinaharap ngayon... Kaya itong SONA para sa akin ay isang pagkakataon para maipresenta ng Pangulo ang overall comprehensive plan on how to survive this pandemic," Drilon said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

"Ano ang kailangan gawin ng administrasyon? Kami ay tutulong para ma-stimulate ang economy. Kailangan ng pondo ngayon at saan tayo kukuha ng pera? Ito ba ay panibagong buwis o manghihiram tayo?" he asked.

Drilon said that lawmakers are finding it quite challenging to craft a stimulus package because a definite economic stimulus budget has not been agreed upon yet.

"Mayroong proposal na gumastos tayo ng mahigit sa deficit para mapasigla ang ekonomiya. Mayroon naman ibang sector na nagsasabing huwag manghiram at gumastos sa mahigit sa kaya natin... Gusto kong marinig sa Pangulo kung magkano ba ang kailangan natin para makaahon sa kahirapan dala ng COVID-19," he said.

The minority leader said the Senate passed the P140 billion Bayanihan 2 bill on second reading. A counterpart bill, with a budget component of P162 billion, has been approved by the House Committee of Whole last month.

The Lower House also passed its proposed P1.3 trillion Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) Act.

Drilon underscored that the budget disparities in the proposed economic stimulus packages must be ironed out, and that actions on how to fund these must be determined.

"Ang problema ay naghuhulaan tayo kung magkano ang kailangan natin. Dito pa lang ang hirap nang gumawa ng plano at magpasa ng batas," he said.

Duterte will be delivering his 5th SONA on July 27 at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. Congress will also resume its session next week.—AOL, GMA News