The Senate Committee on Finance is set to hold a hearing tomorrow on the economic stimulus and recovery bills to address the impacts of COVID-19 in the country.
Senator Sonny Angara, the chairman of the committee, said it is the intention of the Senate to work with the private sector, which has seen either a significant scaling down or a total shut down of their operations during the lockdowns, “to see how government can help reduce their hardship.”
“We want to hear from the representatives of the private sector about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their operations. What have they been doing to keep afloat during the lockdown and what have they done to help their employees?” Angara said.
“Moving forward, we will determine what must be done to help them minimize their losses and preserve the jobs of their employees now that they will have to operate under a drastically different environment that we are calling the new normal,” Angara added.
Friday’s hearing will be conducted jointly with the Committee on Economic Affairs headed by Senator Imee Marcos to take up six bills and one resolution.
Two of the measures to be taken up: Senate Bills 1417 or the proposed Economic Rescue Plan for COVID-19 and 1449 or the Economic Rescue Plan for COVID-19 were filed by Angara.
Senate Bills 1414 or the Pag-Asa, Alaga, Sustento at Angat sa Panahon ng COVID-19 Crisis Package, 1427, which amends Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, and 1431 or the proposed Act Establishing an Economic Recovery Package to Businesses in the Hardest Hit Sectors by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 were filed by Marcos.
Senate Bill 1474 or the Philippine Stimulus Package, Aid and Response to Coronavirus Act was filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
On top of the six bills, the committees will also take up Proposed Senate Resolution 409 filed by Angara, which seeks to determine the budgetary requirements of the government to utilize innovative digital technologies and to accelerate the build-up of telecommunications infrastructure.
“This is an economic stimulus because the COVID-19 pandemic is said to be the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Back then it took around three years before some economic recovery was seen. We must act swiftly. We do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past and we want to help those who really need it,” Angara said.
The impact of COVID-19 is widespread, it did not spare anyone and so according to Angara, “we want to cast the widest net possible,” to capture as many sectors with the recovery and stimulus packages.
“This will also be a good time to review some of the programs rolled out under the Bayanihan We Heal as One Act. We’ll take a look at what is working and what needs tweaking if any,” Angara said./Stacy Ang