House OKs P1.5-trillion infra spending bill to curb unemployment
MANILA, Philippines — To stimulate the economy amid widespread unemployment caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the House of Representatives approved on final reading a bill that seeks to allocate P1.5 trillion funding for infrastructure projects in priority sectors.
With 210 affirmative votes, seven negative votes, and no abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 6920, or “The COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020.
The measure aims to fund the implementation of infrastructure projects in the health, education, agriculture, and local roads/infrastructure livelihood sectors.
Infrastructure projects would include barangay health centers, municipal and city hospitals, digital equipment for COVID-19 testing, telemedicine services to post-harvest facilities, trading centers, and farm-to-market roads.
The measure’s implementation will complement the “Balik Probinsya Program” which sought to decongest Metro Manila.
A P500-billion fund shall be appropriated annually for three fiscal years.
Authors of the law earlier said that about 1.3 million construction workers were “likely displaced” due to stringent quarantine protocols imposed over Luzon in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Thousands of Filipino migrant workers were also forced to come home to the country due to the pandemic, adding to the growing number of jobless individuals.
The proposed measure is on top of a P1.3-trillion economic stimulus package that the House passed on third and final reading on Thursday.
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