Velasco says Bayanihan 3 ‘more imperative’ amid PH’s weak GDP in Q1 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s 4.2 percent gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2021 underscores the necessity for the proposed third Bayanihan measure that aims to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Tuesday.
According to Velasco, the government has to infuse a substantial amount into the economy by providing much-needed aid to individuals, businesses, and communities severely affected by the health crisis.
“As COVID-19 continues to negatively affect the economy, there’s a growing consensus among members of the House of Representatives that the best tool to prevent a long economic downturn is for the government to go big on another relief package,” Velasco said in a statement.
“The passage of the proposed Bayanihan 3 law—which proposes a P405.6-billion fund to stimulate the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis—has become more imperative as the country’s gross domestic product fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021 from a year earlier, marking the fifth straight quarter of declines amid pandemic-induced lockdowns,” he added.
Velasco likewise said there is an urgent need to address the slowdown in the construction industry, which was a “major contributor” to the GDP decline.
Velasco then urged the Executive Department to facilitate the immediate and full implementation of the flagship “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
“With private sector infrastructure at a standstill, the government should take the lead in reinvigorating our construction sector,” he said.
“We ask the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Public Works and Highways to address delays in the implementation of government construction projects, and to proceed in helping the economy and the country bounce back better,” he added.
Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, an economist, echoed Velasco’s position on the need to provide financial assitance to Filipino families.
“Kelangan ng economic stimulus o dagdag na gastos ang gobyerno para bigyan ng lifeline ang mga pamilya. The 16.1 percent growth in government spending was not enough to counteract the reductions in consumption and investments,” Quimbo said in a separate statement.
“I hope that when Congress resumes session next week, it will waste no time in passing Bayanihan 3. Ang pera para sa ayuda sa Bayanihan 3, kasama ang dalawang round ng P1,000 para sa lahat ng Pilipino, ay susi sa pagbangon ng pamilya at ng ekonomiya,” she added.
Aside from Bayanihan 3, Quimbo called on Congress to pass House Bill No. 9256 or the Affordable Pork Bill, saying there is a need to monitor prices of goods as the economy weakens.
“This will help stabilize pork prices in the short term through direct government procurement, as well as allocate assistance for our local hog industry’s recovery and development,” she said.
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