The House of Representatives is preparing a measure that seeks to allot some P1.3 trillion as economic stimulus to help the economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act of 2020 (Pesa) being drafted by the House Defeat COVID-19 committee seeks to protect Filipino workers from impending job losses and help turn the tide for businesses adversely affected by the health crisis.

The Pesa bill, a consolidated version of measures filed by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, is aimed at averting business closures, restoring business confidence as well as operations prior to the Luzon-wide lockdown imposed on March 16.

Under the Pesa funding, P650 billion will be for an “Enhanced Build, Build, Build” program, covering a three-year rollout of infrastructure projects on “universal health care, education and food security.”

The proposed law aims to allot P300 billion for the establishment of the National Emergency and Investment Corp., which will seek to “minimize the damage” wrought by COVID-19 to the economy.

It also earmarks P200 billion for the grant of interest-free loans to assist micro, small and medium enterprises, including businesses labeled “nonessential” during the lockdown, and P128 billion for the Credit Mediation and Restructuring Guarantee Fund, an expanded loan program for “critically impacted” businesses.

These businesses, as well as freelancers, self-employed citizens and overseas Filipino workers repatriated due to the pandemic, will get wage subsidies under a P110-billion allotment under the measure.

Another P500 million will be set aside as compensation to businesses for the paid sick leaves of employees during the quarantine period.


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