Lawmaker urges Duterte to certify Bayanihan 3 as urgent
MANILA, Philippines — House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the Bayanihan 3 as urgent, citing that Filipinos urgently need cash aid as the unemployed individuals in the country rose to 4.14 million in April 2021.
In a statement, Zarate said “ayuda (cash aid) is needed now more than ever” after unemployment in the Philippines hit 8.7 percent in April as the country continues to grapple with the impact of the pandemic.
With the inflation hitting 4.5 percent in May 2021, exceeding the government’s target of only 2 percent to 4 percent, the lawmaker said “the Duterte administration should no longer ignore calls for grant of ayuda or subsidy for our suffering people.”
“We are challenging Duterte to certify as urgent the Bayanihan 3 because this is what the people need,” he said.
The House of Representatives had passed the P401-billion Bayanihan 3, or Bayanihan To Arise As One Act, before it went on a sine die adjournment last week.
The Senate could only start to deliberate on the third stimulus package once it resumes session on July 26.
Rep. Joey Salceda, the House tax chief, said in a separate statement that the government must expand treatment, isolation, and testing capacity especially in the provinces where COVID-19 cases are increasing.
But to sustain long-term job recovery, he said “there is no alternative to herd immunity.”
“We must encourage vaccine confidence and interest,” he said, urging the Civil Service Commission to release guidelines that would allow government employees, including contractuals, to take a paid leave after vaccination.
He also encouraged the Department of Labor and Employment to engage employers to find ways to do the same in the private sector.
According to him, the government must also support sectors where job creation is taking place like the business process outsourcing sector.
“We must find a healthy balance between enforcement of tax and incentives laws and our exceptional circumstances and the economic situation,” he said.
“As we discuss the 2022 budget in the coming months, our efforts must be guided by the need for growth-enhancing public investments that will create jobs and, over the long-term, pay for themselves through economic returns,” he added.
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