Palace renews calls to pass Bayanihan 2, tax measures as PH dives into recession
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday renewed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to Congress to pass the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or the Bayanihan 2, and the corporate tax reform measure as the Philippines plunges into recession amid its fight against COVID-19.
The Philippine economy shrank by 16.5 percent in the second quarter compared to last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.
“While we understand that the decrease in our gross domestic product growth rate is a result of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)/modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), we are concerned by the steep drop which is much worse than what our government economists had expected,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
“We reiterate the President’s call to Congress to fast track the passage of Bayanihan II, or the Bayanihan to Recover As One, which would boost our second-semester offensive against COVID-19; and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Act to help businesses recover and generate employment for our people,” he added.
The President, during his fifth State of the Nation Address last month, appealed to Congress to hasten the passage of both measures to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
Several parts of the country have been under lockdown since mid-March which halted some businesses.
Mega Manila, considered as the country’s economic hub, recently reverted to stricter quarantine measures after medical frontliners’ called for a “time out” due to spike in cases and to refine the pandemic strategies.
“Our resolve to recover at the soonest possible, however, remains strong. Ingat buhay para sa hanapbuhay is our battle cry,” Roque said.
Citing the PSA, Roque said the main contributors to the economy’s drop were the decline in manufacturing, construction, and transportation and storage — all of which were affected by the lockdowns imposed.
“We expect an improvement in the performance of these sectors during the second semester of the year, with our gradual reopening of the economy, as well as our proposed stimulus measures,” Roque said.
The Philippine health authorities have so far recorded 115,980 COVID-19 cases nationwide with 2,123 deaths and 66,720 recoveries.
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