Imee: Fight vs COVID-19needs P750-b “all heart, all out” emergency budget

first_imgThe daily income of wage earners andmonthly salaries of the middle-class have been disrupted by the lockdown, withthe possibility of lay-offs looming large in the export, travel and tourismsectors most affected by the global health crisis. MANILA – Sen. Imee Marcos said thegovernment should go “all heart, all out”  in funding the fight againstCOVID-19, calling an emergency budget to be taken up in a special session ofCongress on Monday the most crucial investment in our country’s future. Marcos added that the government cantake advantage of the recent upgrades in its investment ratings and theprevailing low interest rates of close to 0 percent to borrow funds of up toP440 billion, an amount still within a manageable debt cap of 5.4 percent fromthe present 3.2 percent. The lockdown may also be replicated inother parts of the country, if the spread of COVID-19 worsens, Marcos alsosaid./PN Possible sources of the first P300billion of the Pag-ASA emergency package can be squeezed from funds left overfrom the 2019 budget; calamity funds in the 2020 budget; intelligence andsocial funds of the Office of the President; PhilHealth’s emergency reservefund; and contingency funds from the departments of education, agriculture,labor and employment, social welfare and development, and public works andhighways, Marcos said. Marcos added that the Department ofHealth has not yet been able to predict when cases of COVID-19 infection willpeak, so the government must provide a budget responsive to health and foodsecurity in case the ongoing lockdown is extended beyond April 12. Marcos will pitch the Pag-ASA emergencypackage in a Senate bill on Monday, fearing public panic may ensue in comingmonths if the government’s proposed emergency budget of only P200 billion isapproved.center_img “Ilokanaman ako, hindi ito ang tamang panahon para mag-kuripot ang gobyerno. Itodo naang tulong kung talagang tutulong para sa proteksyon ng mga mga healthworkers, pagkain sa mahihirap at sustento sa mga nawalan ng trabaho,”Marcos said.  Marcos, who chairs the Senate committeeon economic affairs, has drawn up an emergency package of almost 750 billionpesos called “Pag-ASA: Alaga, Sustento at Pag-Angat,” which seeks immediate andsustained protection of health workers, provision of food and cash aid for marginalizedcommunities, and stimulus packages to badly hit industries employing millionsof workers. The senator warned that local governmentunits (LGUs) are likely to run out of funds in the next two weeks but addedthat they should be able to download funds directly from the nationalgovernment, in accordance with Section 87 of the General Appropriations Act. A lockdown to stem the spread ofCOVID-19 has slowed down Metro Manila’s food supply from agricultural producersall over Luzon, with checkpoints set up to support the social-distancingmeasures imposed by the government. Senator Imee Marcos last_img

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