During a virtual meeting with the officials and key members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII), Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go appealed for support from the business community for the government’s post-COVID-19 plans to accelerate the recovery of the country’s economy. He also urged them to help fight corruption as businesses are slated to reopen soon.
“Kayo po ang makakatulong, mga negosyante, to invest in the provinces. At ang gobyerno din po magbibigay ng incentives to encourage you to invest,” Go said during his opening speech.
The Senator also asked the private sector to aid the government in the fight against corruption.
“Hinihiling ko din po na tulungan ninyo kami ni Pangulong Duterte na labanan ang korapsyon sa gobyerno,” Go said.
“Kung may lumalapit man sa inyo at ginigipit kayo o di kaya ay humihingi ng suhol, isumbong po ninyo sa amin. Huwag po ninyong hayaan, kunsintehin o itago. Asahan po ninyo na proprotektahan namin kayo pati na rin ang inyong negosyo,” he added.
He then detailed the plans the government has formulated to respond to the socio-economic effects brought by the pandemic.
“First, the government will restart and accelerate its Build, Build, Build Program, subject to strict health standards to protect its workers,” Go said, adding that the flagship infrastructure agenda will continue to accelerate the economy.
“Unang binuksan ito sa ngayon kase ito ang pwedeng makapagbigay agad ng trabaho and pump up the economy,” he added.
To further intensify the government’s fight against COVID-19, Go mentioned that the government will do mass hiring of contact tracers.
“Ngayon, mahirap ang contact tracing. Ingat po tayo. Itong contact tracers, mabibigyan ng trabaho para hindi umasa lahat sa tulong ng gobyerno,” he said.
The Senator also explained the existing programs the government has done to combat the health emergency and assist Filipinos.
“Binabalanse ng gobyerno ang lahat. Syempre inuuna po ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Pero ayaw din naman natin na pabayaan ang ekonomiya dahil kayo ang bumubuhay sa bansa,” the Senator said, assuring the private sector that the government is on top of the situation regarding the virus.
Go also detailed the various assistance provided by the government to help Filipino individuals and businesses get through the emergency such as the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises Program through the Department of Trade and Industry, COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program of the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Small Business Wage Subsidy Program through the Social Security System.
The Senator further said that the government seeks to attract foreign investors to relocate from other countries to the Philippines by passing Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which include flexible tax and non-tax incentives as proposed by the Department of Finance.
As a lawmaker, Go said that he will study the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Bill or CREATE Bill.
“Kung maipasa bilang batas ang CREATE bill, maaaring makatulong ito sa ating mga negosyo,” Go said.
“The CREATE bill would require corporations to pay only 25% corporate income tax starting July 2020, instead of a gradual decrease of 1% per year from the current 30% corporate income tax rate, as provided in the CITIRA,” he further explained.
To further boost the economy, the government will stimulate consumer spending by reviving manufacturing of products that have strong, inelastic demand, especially food production and logistics, according to Go.
“Sa panahon ng krisis, nakita ng buong bansa natin kung gaano kahalaga ang agrikultura at food sector,” he stressed.
“Kaya nararapat lang po na bigyan natin sila ng tamang halaga para mabawi natin ang daloy ng ating ekonomiya,” Go added.
To further help the country recover from the pandemic, Go shared the vision of the government’s Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, of which he is the main proponent.
“Ang BP2, isa po ako sa main proponent nito. Kami po ni Pangulo, pareho rin pong probinsyano. Siya, ginawang President. Ako naman, naging Senador. Isa po ang Balik Probinsya sa mga paraan para maibalik namin ni Pangulong Duterte ang serbisyong para sa mga Pilipino,” Go said.
Through the program, Go said that the government hopes to achieve equitable development in all regions, not just in Metro Manila and other metropolitan areas.
“Noon, wala pong may gustong mag-implement nito. Pero ngayon, may political will to implement. Ngayon, nandiyan si Pangulong Duterte, may political will to implement,” he said.
Go also explained that more and more Filipinos are willing to return to the provinces after their less successful experience in Metro Manila. Go added that education in the countryside is now at par with Metro Manila, reducing the need for students to study in the city.
“Noon, walang gustong umuwi. Kaming probinsyano, fascinated sa Maynila dahil nandito lahat. Ngayon, marami nang nadala. Sa Bisaya, natagam. Meron mga na-stranded at hindi nakatanggap ng social amelioration,” Go said.
“Ngayon, ‘yung education sa probinsya, at par na rin sa Metro Manila. Ngayon, hindi na sila kailangan pumunta lahat dito, pati estudyante at trabahante,” he added.
“We hope to address the multiple problems brought about by over-congestion. We want to give our people hope,” he added.
Ending his statement, the Senator assured them that the government is always open to listen to their concerns.
“As a public servant, I give you my word: this government will listen to you and will not abandon you,” said Go.
“We will take this one step at a time so that we can slowly, but surely, emerge out of this crisis as a stronger and more prosperous nation,” he ended./Stacy Ang